More about how to send letters and gifts
Send a smile around the world!
Your letters are the lifeline between you and your sponsored child. Although your financial gifts are important, the personal connection and relationship you build through your letters means the world to your child.
PLEASE NOTE: Letters and gifts that do not follow these guidelines and contain culturally inappropriate subjects or items will NOT be passed along to your child. Check this guide carefully before writing or sending a gift to your child. Thank you for understanding.
Tips for writing letters
- Write often! Short, encouraging notes are greatly appreciated.
- Send a photo of you and your family in front of a neutral background. Do not include your home, car, boat, vacation site, or anything that depicts wealth. Avoid wearing swimsuits or revealing clothing in your photos. Be sensitive to the environment in which your child lives.
- Please avoid making statements such as, “I hope to meet you one day.” This could create disappointment if you aren’t able to follow through.
- Field teams do their best to pass on letters and gifts as quickly as possible, but we cannot guarantee that all sent items will reach the field. Please do not ask your child if he/she received previous letters or gifts.
- Write clearly in simple sentences. Avoid slang or cultural references that may not be understood outside American culture. Jokes and humor rarely translate well.
- Please do not include any personal contact information such as your mailing or email address or phone number in your correspondence.
- When you send a gift, include a letter. The relationship is often more important than the gift.
- Please do not send anything larger than one 6”x9” envelope at a time. Excessive, extravagant gifts can create a dependency on handouts that will undermine the ministry.
- Do not ask your child for suggestions what they would like you to send to them.
- Please do not send cards or gifts related to holidays that are not celebrated in your child’s country, especially Halloween.
- Avoid gifts that depict snakes, spiders, frogs, dinosaurs, tortoises, snails or any other reptiles, and any items that depict witchcraft or wizardry, or stick-on tattoos. These items can symbolize inappropriate things in some countries.
- Please do not wrap your gifts with wrapping paper. They will be unwrapped prior to delivery to your child.
- Do not send cash, food or candy to your child. Food attracts rodents that may get to your package before your child does.
- You should receive a thank-you note from your child for each gift you send, but it may take up to six months.
How to send your letters and gifts
Follow these guidelines to ensure the fastest delivery to your child. Allow 6-8 weeks for your correspondence to reach him or her. It may take much longer during the Christmas season. Please send Christmas correspondence no later than the end of August.
- Place all items into one 6”x9” envelope.
- Write the child’s full name, ID number and school name on the outside of this envelope. Do NOT write a return address on this envelope!
- Place the first envelope into another 6”x9” envelope, or wrap the first envelope in shipping paper.
- Write the mailing address for your child on the outer envelope or layer of shipping paper. Include a return address. This layer will be removed by field personnel and will not be given to your child. This step protects your personal contact information from falling into the wrong hands.
- Check with the post office for the official weight and international postage rates. Do NOT send as priority, express, certified or flat rate.
- If you must fill out a customs form, indicate that the contents of the package are of minimal value; a few dollars, at the most.
IMPORTANT: Please send your correspondence directly to the address provided for your child, not to CMF. Correspondence received by the CMF office in the US will be returned to the senders.
Questions? Please contact the CMF office at 317.578.2700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.