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