How to send letters and gifts
May I write a letter?
Writing letters shows that you care about your sponsored child and want to encourage his/her development.
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. Want more helpful tips on writing letters and sending gifts to your sponsored child? See “Send a smile around the world: Everything you need to know about corresponding with your sponsored child.”
What can I say in my letter?
Consider these guidelines in any communication to your child:
• Describe the members of your family.
• Discuss your favorite activities, hobbies, and sports.
• Briefly tell what you do at work, church, or school.
• Talk about your relationship with Jesus Christ.
• Provide a general description of where you live (no specific address). Tell them about the climate and land type.
• Ask your child the same types of questions about what they like to do, where they live, and what they are learning in school.
May I send a picture of my family?
Use a neutral background such as greenery or a blank wall. Please do not include material items such as cars, your home, toys, or other possessions.
What kind of letters and gifts may I send to my child?
You may send a 6”x9” or smaller envelope at various times throughout the year (send no more than 2 envelopes at a time). Please do not send a large package to your child.
Note to sponsors of children in Brazil: Please send letters only to your child; do not send gifts. Due to customs regulations, they will not receive them.
Please do not send a letter or gift bigger than a 6”x9” envelope or it will be held in customs. If items are too large or look like they contain valuables, they will be held in customs until a fee is paid. Families do not have extra money to get packages out of customs, so any package held there will never reach your child.
What small items can I send to my sponsored child?
For an elementary-age student you may send:
• Family pictures, matchbox toy cars, crayons, colored pencils, pens, stickers, small note pads, hair clips, jewelry, and small, thin books – activity coloring books, devotional books and Bibles.
For a middle or high school student you may send:
• Family pictures, colored pencils, pens, small note pads, hair clips, jewelry, and also small thin books – devotional books and Bibles.
What items should I NOT send to my sponsored child?
• Toys or stickers that depict snakes, spiders, tortoises, snails, frogs, or scorpions. Please also refrain from sending stick-on tattoos of any kind.
• Checks, cash, or personal contact information (email address, home address or phone number).
• Food or candy.
• Plastic bags are banned in Kenya, so please do not send or bring items to your Kenyan child in ziploc or other types of plastic bags.
Where do I send my envelope?
All correspondence with your child should be sent to the address listed on your community card. Please follow ALL of these steps when sending items:
1. Place your letter in an envelope with the child’s name and ID number written on it. Do not write your personal contact information/return address on this envelope.
2. Place this envelope into another 6” x 9” envelope (or a 6 1/2” x 9 1/2” envelope is okay) addressed to the location listed on your community card. As an alternative, you may also wrap the first envelope in brown shipping paper and write the address on the outside of the paper.
3. Place your return address on the outer envelope/shipping paper (international mailing requirements).
Check with your Post Office for the official weight and International Postage Rates. Do not send as priority, express, certified, or flat rate. If you are required to fill out a customs form, it is important to indicate that the contents of the package have zero (0) commercial value.
Do not send letters/gifts for your sponsored child to CMF International’s US office.
How long will it take my letter to reach my child? Allow 6 to 8 weeks for mailed items to reach your child.
How will I know that my child received my letter/gift?
Each child who receives a gift will write a thank you note to his/her sponsor. Please note that it could be several months before you will receive a thank you card in the mail.
Will I be updated on my child?
Your child should write to you at least once a year to let you know what is going on in his/her life. In addition, CMF will notify sponsors any time we are made aware of a major event that occurs in the life of your child.
You can also receive ministry updates for the program your child is in through our child sponsorship newsletter. You can sign up to receive these updates by visiting cmfi.org/signup.