May 21 2012

3 best (and worst) gifts to send to sponsored children, aging friends

Writing letters and sharing photos are wonderful ways to build a strong friendship between you and your sponsored friend!

We so appreciate our sponsors who take the time to get to know their sponsored children and aging friends through correspondence.

Rosana helps CFCA sponsored child Auner write letter to sponsor

Rosana, right, helps Auner, a child sponsored through CFCA, write a letter to his sponsor. Rosana is a mothers group leader in Guatemala.

To improve your sponsorship experience, we’ve outlined the 3 best (and worst) gifts you can send in the mail.

Best gifts to send

1) Letters

Whether it’s a brief note asking about their family, how they’re doing in school or just saying, “I’m thinking of you,” a letter can mean the world to a child whose mother is sick, to a youth struggling to finish school, or to an elderly person who yearns for companionship. (Writer’s block? See some of our letter-writing tips to get you started.)

No matter how simple, these letters and notes help let your friend know there’s someone far away who cares and wants them to succeed in life.

Note: You can now send eLetters, which are messages sent to your friend through your CFCA online account. (You must be logged in to your online account before sending an eLetter.)

2) Cards

Birthday cards, holiday cards, friendship cards … There’s a reason why cards have endured even in today’s digital age, and that’s because they’re so personal!

Another option, if you and your sponsored friend speak the same language, is to send a recordable greeting card and let your friend meet you through a recorded message.

3) Photos

When you began sponsoring, you were given a photo of your sponsored friend. Just as you enjoy knowing to whom you’re writing, your friend would love to have a photo of you or your family.

Sending a photo allows your friend to get to know you a little better. As you place your friend’s photo on the fridge or elsewhere in your home, know that your friend’s family will have your photo in a special place, too.

Worst gifts to send

1) Edible items

Marshmallows, chocolate and peanut butter candies, chewing gum and other goodies just do not travel well in the mail.

Often these treats melt in the heat or suffer from rough handling during transportation.

Remember, it can take weeks for your gift to arrive ñ just to reach our project office, which has to process the item and forward it to the local CFCA office in your friend’s community. Only then can our local staffers arrange to deliver it to your friend.

The protective wrapping can also get torn during transport and dust can settle inside the package, making it dangerous for any child or aging friend to eat the goodies.

2) Cosmetic items (and other gels and liquids)

Gift items like nail polish, lip balm and perfume are often damaged before they reach their destination. Also, please avoid items such as soap and soap petals, toothpastes and bath oils.

Cosmetics also do not fare well during hot weather. Right now some countries where we work, such as India, are experiencing 100-degree heat.

3) “Expensive” items

Our international staff members continually request that sponsors refrain from sending gifts that appear to have great value such as watches, calculators, cameras, etc.

These items often get intercepted and stolen from the package before the item even reaches the CFCA project office.

Important reminder: If you want to occasionally send a small gift, make sure it fits in a 9-inch by 12-inch or smaller envelope, weighs less than a pound and is less than 1 inch thick. Please include some information inside the package, such as your CFCA identification number or your child’s sponsorship number, so we know where to deliver it. Never send cash or checks directly.

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13 thoughts on “3 best (and worst) gifts to send to sponsored children, aging friends”

  1. In prayer I was really led to think about and remember to send a note to the children my husband and I sponsored. Time passes so quickly. I am going to try to do it more.

    I like the idea of the photos and I really appreciate the labels that come in the packets unbound sends. I have corresponded that way before. The esending of letters is wonderful. I’ll use that again and again.

  2. My husband and I are honored to sponsor. We have not done a good job of corresponding with our sponsored child but always enjoy the letters we get periodically. We are starting to write the CFCA E letter and intend to write personal letters from time to time. Your on line information is helpful and we appreciate the fine Work the CFCA organization does “in this world”! God bless you all!

  3. I have bought several greeting cards in Spanish. The English translation is on the back. Hallmark carries them, Target stores, even grocery stores! My daughter lives in San Antonio and there are a lot of Spanish cards there, but even in Missouri where I live I can find them. I always go to gift shops at Catholic Churches when I travel, there I have found holy cards, and little booklets in Spanish. They mail easily.

  4. Thank you for the reminder of how important it is to write. And thank you for making it easier with the eletters.

  5. I am very much looking forward to getting to know our sponsored child. We are new to this and this information has really helped orient us. Thank you very much!

  6. I Remember on a CFCA trip to Honduras that one of the children I sponsored brought a box with her on the day we had our visit. Inside the box she had each letter and card that I had sent her. The amazing part was she had them in the exact order of the date she received them. She treated that box of letters like a box of gold. A great big smile on her face. For all the sponsors that never seem to find the time to write your sponsored child, maybe this will be an inspiration to write a few. God bless!

  7. Thank you for the reminder on how important it is for our sponsored friends to hear from us. I have heard many stories on how great of an impact our kind letters can be for these children, and I am sure the same can be said for the elderly. These kids really do cherish their letters and it is my hope that every sponsor will take the time to write, even if it is just a couple of times a year!

    1. Lisa, it’s so encouraging to hear that from you! When I went on a CFCA mission awareness trip to Chile, I was amazed to see what pride both sponsored children and aging friends took in their letters, showing me the paper they were written on, the photos, etc.

      Thanks for your support and for writing your friend – it makes such a difference!

      ~Shanxi, CFCA online content manager

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