Our correspondence team receives many gifts from sponsors for their sponsored children that can’t be sent to our country offices. If this happens to your gift, we will contact you to see if you’d like the gift returned or donated to a local Colorado Springs charity, Northern Churches Care.
And to help prevent that from happening to you, which items do you think can be sent to your sponsored child through the mail?
Ok, ok. It was a trick question. None of the items can be sent through the mail. Unfortunately, we receive about 300 items like these each month. Our correspondence team spends about eight hours each week sorting out these undeliverable items.
During the Christmas season, rather than donating the items to Northern Churches Care, the correspondence team gathers all of the items that couldn’t be sent and that weren’t returned to sponsors and makes shoeboxes to donate to Operation Christmas Child.
Last year, they were able to donate over 200 shoeboxes.
You can find a list of items that you CAN send to your child through the mail on compassion.com.
UPDATE: November 30, 2011 – Here’s an idea of the volume of items we receive that can’t be sent and which sponsors choose not to have returned.
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Really love to see this
I have a picture I colored and would like to write some scripture on the back In Spanish for one of my kids. Will she receive both?
Hello Tess! If you send the picture with scripture on the back, just make sure to put your sponsor number and your child’s number on it so we know who to send it to! If you do this, she will receive the picture and scripture you wrote. Another thing to note is we have a limit of 6 pages to be sent at a time. Thank you so much for wanting to send her this encouragement! ?
Hello, Am I able to send a small sticker book that i found at the store to my child? It has only 4 pages total and is pretty small. Also If i bought a reusable sticker book and tore out the pages of it could the pages be sent to my child for all of the stickers that i send her?
the 4 page sticker book.
Hello Anastasia! This is a great question! We would not be able to send anything that has binding in it. If you are able to tear out the sticker sheets and send them as loose-leaf sheets of paper, we should be able to send them. However, if they are bound inside the book, we would not be able to send the stickers.
Hello! I like to color a picture and send it with a similar uncolored picture to my child, does she get the actual picture that i color? And Am i able to send a paper folder to her for her to keep everything i send in?
Hi Anastasia, thank you for contacting us! If you send a coloring page, it will be scanned with out high-resolution scanner and printed out in your child’s country. Regrettably, we would not be able to send the folder. Please let us know if you have any additional questions!
Thank you Shannon.
Good to know. If I mail the sticker book this week, when is the expected delivery? If its closer to Christmas, I’ll put a Christmas card in there plus add to donation for Xmas. Is it normal to receive only 2 letters a year?
Her mother last wrote back to me in February. I’ve sent her Bday money and written 3 more letters online. How often to the children go to the centers? I’ve also sent an extra $60 Last year to hopefully get a current picture of her and what she’s purchased. I have no idea how far her home is from the center and what mode of transportation they have to get there.
Thanks for you help
As a general rule, letters with physical gifts attached will take about 8 weeks to be delivered to your child! It’s possible that you would only receive two letters per year; however, children do respond to their sponsors’ letters every sixty days, so you could receive as many as five or six letters per year. You should never go more than six months without hearing from your child. How often a child attends a center depends on the age of the child and each center’s specific guidelines, but the average for each child is eight hours per week. This could be all on one day on a weekend, or split up throughout the week. You should also receive a thank-you letter and photo within six months of sending that $60 gift to your child. Thank you for asking these great questions! Please let us know if there’s anything else we can do for you.
Since a flat cardboard puzzle is too thick to send,can I send a gift in 2 manila envelopes?
I want to send a sticker coloring book to my child to share with her sister to play with.
The book is exactly 12 pages front to back. I’d like to send 6 sheets in each envelope.
They need the whole book to attach the stickers to match tba page
You are more than welcome to send stickers to your child and her sister. However, you can only send six pages (front and back) at one time and your “package” must include a letter. I would encourage you to do as you said, where you split the stickers into two “letters”. However, they both need to be addressed to your child and have a letter attached to them. You can mention in your letter that the stickers are to be shared with her sister. 🙂
Can I send a cardboard puzzle from the dollar store? Will it be able to go through as a customer as a document? It just feels like a small cardboard
I am so sorry, but a puzzle will not got through. We encourage you to send letters and cards as often as possible. However, please know that the only physical items that are able to be sent are musical and pop-up cards, bookmarks and stickers. All of these items must be 100% paper other than the stickers which may include plastic stickers also. Thank you so much for understanding!
This is terrible!!! That is exactly why I won’t be joining your charity. I am going with World Vision because they let you send a 6×9 package once a month and it can. E full of stuff. That is the fun in having a child to sponsor. And it’s more fun for the kids who are sponsored. Hello what would you rather play with ? A baby doll or a piece of paper???
Aimee, I’m so sorry for the frustration our letter writing guidelines have caused you. We greatly appreciate your desire to bless children living in extreme poverty. It’s true that our guidelines are a bit stricter, but we hope that you will understand our hearts behind our decision to not send packages. However, we have seen that your words can have a powerful impact on a young child’s life. Your letters can say to a child that they are special, Jesus loves them, and that someone is praying for them. We have seen that children who receive letters versus those who don’t have better self-esteem, have better grades in school, and they have a better outlook on life. I encourage you to read one sponsor’s experience with letter writing.
Another reason we do not send packages is because everything we send to our country offices is declared at a customs as a document. If custom officials find anything in a box of letters that isn’t a document, we are assessed a hefty fine and the box will be held for weeks, possibly months. On top of that, there is a high incidence of theft when sending packages to the developing world, and shipping items overseas can be quite costly. Instead, we encourage you to send a monetary gift. The child and family, with the assistance of church staff, will purchase what they need most. This also benefits the local economy of your sponsored child by supporting local businesses.
However, you are able to send many fun things like coloring pages, cut-out paper crafts, games, mazes, and puzzles :). The one exception to this guideline is that stickers, bookmarks, and pop-up cards will be physically sent. Thank you so much for your heart to bless children in great need. God bless you!
When sending paper dolls, am I able to laminate them to make them more durable for play?
Hi Mandy! Regrettably, paper dolls will be scanned and sent digitally to your child and we are unable to scan laminated paper dolls. I would also recommend avoiding to cut them out so that the paper dolls are more easily scanned. The children have scissors and other school supplies available for their use at the Compassion center.
I want to send a pressed flower petal, a piece of parchment paper,and instructions on how to press flowers. Is this allowed?
Hi Chelsea! We appreciate your very creative idea for sending instructions on making a pressed flower :). Regrettably, we won’t be able to send those items on to Renelyn. Compassion is only able to send paper items to the children. While you can’t send your desired items, you can send the following items along with a personal letter: stickers (flat, not puffy or foam), bookmarks and musical greeting cards. These items will be physically delivered to your child. You can also send: letters, photos, postcards, greeting cards, coloring pages and paper crafts. However, your child will not receive the original items. The items will be scanned and sent electronically. The total number of items (including stationery and the letter to your child) should not be more than six sheets, and each flat paper gift item should not be larger than 8.5” x 11”. Items sent without a personal letter will not be delivered o your sponsored child. I hope that helps fuel new creative ideas for you!
I have a two love for girls mini book can I send this to my sponsor girl? If I do will she get the book? If I can send it to her how will I?
Aliciana, regrettably, we are not able to send books of any kind. You are welcome to tear out the pages and send up to five pages with a letter at a time though! Please write her child number on each page and send it to: Compassion International, Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004.
Hello 🙂 Can I send a homemade bookmark, with writing and a picture on it? Will it be delivered to my child? Can it be laminated?
Hi Jessica! As long as it is clearly a bookmark (making it the size of store bought bookmarks), you can certainly send a homemade one, and yes it can be laminated! It will be physically mailed and delivered to your child :). I know that would be a very special treasure for him or her to get in the mail!
I feel like I am in the dark with the new guidelines. I mailed gifts to my children. I received a letter back stating that some of the items could not be delivered. I was not told what item were not permitted. I went through the list of permitted items, and I thought it was okay. Is there a way I can track what was wrong with what I sent?
Hi Valerie! I am so sorry that this letter puzzled and confused you, as I am sure it would! Regrettably, I don’t have the ability to tell what it was that queued that letter to you. We did recently (in April) change the guidelines for letters. Were you following the new guidelines for your children? What did you send to your kids? We did find an error in the system that was sending those letters to sponsors who should not have received it, which is most likely the case for you too. If you can give me a better idea of what you sent, I can tell you if it all went through or not.
I am so confused about what you can and cannot send. Im reading conflicting things. Can i have an up to date list of this I can send that will be given to my child in the original form?
Thank you so much
Hi Jessica! I am so sorry that the items you can and cannot send have been confusing for you! We recently did transfer over to a new letter system that digitally scans and sends letters to the country offices of your children. In order to facilitate the digital letter delivery process, Compassion has made the following changes to our letter writing policy:
– All of your correspondence should include a personal letter to your child. Enclosures received without a personal letter cannot be sent along to your sponsored child.
– Your letter and any enclosures should be completely flat and made of paper.
– Letters and small, flat paper gift items should be no larger than 8.5” x 11″.
– Total number of items (including stationery) should not exceed six sheets of paper, including your letter to your child.
– If items are in excess of six sheets, we will make every effort to donate the item to a local children’s charity. Items that cannot be donated will be discarded.
Compassion provides translation for the letter you send to your sponsored child up to the maximum of six sheets per letter. The “six sheets” rule is replacing the 1/4” thick rule that has been our standard in the past. Please note, only the following items will be physically delivered to your child, up to a maximum of six sheets.
– Stickers (flat, not puffy or foam)
– Musical greeting cards
Some flat paper items enclosed with your letter will be scanned and sent electronically with your letter. The following scan-friendly items will be scanned first, digitally sent to your child’s country office for printing, and then delivered to your child:
– Greeting cards
– Coloring pages
– Paper crafts
Please do let me know if you have further questions! I would be happy to help answer them for you :).
I am a new sponsor. I send flat stickers or a few coloring book pages or a photo album, how does this get to them if everything is scanned? Do you send my original letter and photos to the child?
Hi Courtney! Welcome to the Compassion family and thanks for sending your child such special items! Before April 11th, all items were sent in their original form. After April 11th, things like photos and coloring pages are scanned and then printed for your child so that they can still have a tangible photo to take home and put someplace special and a coloring page to enjoy :). But you’re still able to send stickers, musical greeting cards, and bookmarks to arrive in their original form to your kiddos :). These items will still be mailed. Happy writing!
I’m wondering if I can send a “create your own puzzle” like this one (from Walmart): http://www.walmart.com/ip/26021641?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&adid=22222222228018068912&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=m&wl3=40344820592&wl4=&wl5=pla&wl6=78310283792&veh=sem
Hi Leslie! I am so sorry but we can no longer send puzzles. All items need to be flat, paper, and scan friendly as they will be electronically sent to your sponsored child. I love your creative thinking! Check out this other post for more ideas and information on what can be sent: https://blog.compassion.com/3-great-ideas-for-the-new-letter-delivery-process/
Can I send colored pencils and a coloring book to my sponsor child?
Hi Madi! I appreciate the thought! Regrettably, while we can send up to five coloring pages, we cannot send a full coloring book at a time. Your coloring pages also need to have a short note or letter attached on a separate sheet of paper to be sent through. I am so sorry but we are also not able to send colored pencils. However, each of our student centers has coloring and other school supplies available to each of the children.
With the new way that Compassion is scanning letters and most paper gifts to send to to our sponsor children, what will happen if I send a greeting card (written in, or blank) to my child? Will they receive an actual card, or a scanned sheet of paper. The reason I want to send cards is because they are special and different. And a cardstock card can be a fun change to regular sheets of paper.
Hi Kaylee! If you send a musical greeting card, this is still sent by mail in its original form to your child. However, if you send a regular greeting card, it will be scanned and sent digitally to our field offices and then printed out and delivered to your child. Please know that we’re not in any way trying to take away the uniqueness of a card or how special your letters are. Your beautiful letters and cards that you send are so special and we understand our sponsors take time to make them personal to their children. They will be printed on very high quality paper to maintain the vibrancy and personality you put into choosing a card specific to your child. And most importantly, your powerful words about the truth and hope of Jesus and your child’s worth in Christ, is being communicated which is what we believe has the greatest impact on your child and releasing them from the grips of poverty. I pray that as this new system is rolled out and we all transition into it together, you see the positive impacts this will have on your relationship with your precious child.
I’m thinking of making a dress for my girl in Ethiopia… Very simple dress … Can I send such a gift to my sponsored child?
Renajoy, that is so incredibly thoughtful and sweet of you! regrettably, we cannot send dresses in the mail to the children. If you or someone you know is traveling to Ethiopia, you could bring the dress with you though. Let me know if you would like more information about this option at [email protected].
How do you send the paper dolls? Do you just send a sheet for them to cut out or can you send ones that are already cut out?I have some paper punches or dolls and clothes, but didn’t know if I can send them loose in an envelope.
Hi C Brown! You can send the paper dolls either way actually. I normally send mine on a sheet for them to cut out, but I have sent them pre-cut too.I definitely encourage you to label as many pieces as you can with your child’s number on the back in case they come spilling out out of the envelope when our office opens it. Your child is going to love them!
Hi, yes, I got your response (sorry I asked 2 places, wasn’t sure the best place to ask!) This is a great help–thank you–it’s on its way 🙂
We have 3 sponsored children and normally write online letters, but I would like to send something small within the given guidelines. My question: Can I put all 3 kids’ items in one 81/2 X 11 envelope, or do I need to send each separately?
Hi Elizabeth! I think I just responded to you on this post but I’ll respond to you again just to be sure. 🙂 Please let us know if you have any other questions as we are happy to help! You are welcome to send items to all 3 of your children in the same envelope. Please simply label each item with their names and child numbers. Also, your outside envelope can be any size but the items themselves just need to be under 8 1/2″ by 11.”
I found in one of your comments (April 6, 2015) that the outside envelope can be larger than the 8 1/2 by 11 insides!! Thank you so much, that is exactly the information I was looking for!!!!
I have a small, 3 X 5 magnetic calendar. Can it be included with a card?
Hi Wanda! Regrettably, magnets cannot be sent due to strict customs regulations in the various countries in which we work. I apologize for this inconvenience! You are certainly welcome to send a calendar made of paper, however as long as it fits the size requirements :).
Forgot to mention, another fun item to send. Pages where they have to find the hidden objects. My sponsored child seems to like it and said on some of the items she had to ask her mom for help. Just another idea!
I send my sponsored child inexpensive items from the Dollar Store such as calendars (1 or 2 pages at a time), book marks, stencils, stickers, etc. I buy the calendars for the pictures for her to enjoy. I have sent a few pages with pictures to color, connect the dot, and other free things I find off the internet. My sponsored child lives in Columbia, where it is hot. I live in Wisconsin so I send her pictures showing her how the colors of the leaves change and pictures after a snow storm. Since she speaks Spanish, I went to a used book store and bought her two books in Spanish. Instead of tearing off the covers and sending the book, I made two copies of the book in color. One was for her to enjoy and the other to give to a friend. Older children could still appreciate the pictures with calendars, copies of books in their language (can go to library), few pages of Suduko, greeting cards, book marks, etc. They appreciate just receiving letters, items don’t have to be included. I asked her to share with the other kids that they should each write their sponsor, even if their sponsor doesn’t write them. I have sponsored my child for two years now, and plan to sponsor her for more years to come!
Rather than spending money on items here in the US, send the money through Compassion to have clothing, food, items purchased there. It is super expensive to mail things to other countries. We recently mailed a photo frame to a couple for their wedding gift in Japan. It cost us $70 to ship it when the frame only cost $40. $10 here and there will go a LONG way in their country!
Thanks Kim. I liked your idea about making 2 copies of the book. Lovely idea.
I am on a mission to find items to mail to my children and having fun doing it! Michael’s carries $1 leaflets of pictures and at the bottom are paint colors. Also Hobby Lobby carries packs of paper items within the size range that can be colored saying ‘Jesus loves Me’ . Packet of 30. The Christian Book Store has books 4 1/2 x 5 1/2″ for$1.50 and larger ones for $3.99. I am looking for a world map within the size allowed. Where can I buy these? Paper dolls? Thanks.
Hi Shaina, I recently found books at Barnes & Noble within the size range and thickness allowed that teach kids about things like the earth/trees/plants/atmosphere/animals/etc. These books are not hard bound but I have found some I’ve sent as my child asked about snow and I found a Dr. Seuss book within the measurements and hard bound. Some sponsors may not know Compassion has an album you can buy for $5. and I have a few I’ve started where I save all my children’s letters. I am so very blessed to be a sponsor. Just wish I was able to sponsor more. Thanks.
I have had my older children thank me just for writing to them in a greeting card as they don’t have them in their country. I only write in half the card, leaving the other half for translation.I also sent more complex paper mazes, suduko, small calendars, world maps, pictures I’ve taken off nature, and comics from the Sunday paper that would be funny even if you didn’t know what was said.
Thank you for posting this. I’m so glad to hear that the items can be donated. I think the only thing I have sent that was questionable was gel stickers. They were like window cling stickers which were semi-flat. I have 7 wonderful children. I received 4 or 5 letters saying they couldn’t be sent. I’m so sorry to make more work for the employees. I will watch more carefully!
I too am disappointed by the strictness of the gift-giving guidelines. 🙁 Many of the items do not seem satisfactory for older boys and girls. I wish we could send paperback books, maybe a small iPod, or some friendship bands, which are popular with boys as well as girls. Friendship bands or bracelets seem to be the most doable as they are small and made of thread or flat rubber. (Could someone please verify whether this is permissible?) The only items on the list that seem kind of fun for older kids are football cards, origami (such as an origami nativity), and maybe a custom bookmark. But I will probably just send a monetary gift and photos, and hope that they let my child buy something he *wants* in addition to something he needs.
Kal, I’m so sorry for the disappointment in the strictness of the gift giving guidelines. We don’t mean to stifle your creativity with what you can send to your child! You’re welcome to send small paperback books but we normally have to rip the cover off of them so they do not appear to be valuable. If these items appear to be valuable, there is a high risk that they will be stolen on the way to your child. Regrettably, we are unable to send other friendship bands, bracelets, thread, rubber bands, or ribbon. We have noticed that silly bands are going through right now so you are welcome to send those but this is the only type of bracelet that we can send. I like to send my 18 year old bible verse cards and stickers, greeting cards, and bookmarks. Sometimes visiting a dollar store or craft store can help you find some excellent ideas of things to send. They just need to be paper and under a standard paper size.
I am reading all of these posts and I now understand what is acceptable to send but I cannot find the address we should send these items to. I know we have to lable each item with our sponsor number and our child’s name and number, but need to know the address.
Is it possible to send fuzzy felt with the board but not sent in the box as the card base is thin . Plus the felt animals to go on the board as I thought it would be a creative present
can you send finger puppets made from felt??
Can I send a bracelet? It’s like a friendship bracelet made of thread so it’s basically flat. I could send it in a letter.
Hi Kelley! If it is only thread and is small. We can send small quantities of thread, ribbon, or string. -Susan
Sorry if I missed it, but clothing is not able to be sent?
The list says that I can send my child Paper Dolls, however the only ones I can find are in a small booklet. They are only 5 3/4 X 4 and probably less than 1/8 inch thick. I think there are 4 pages. I saw somewhere that you can’t send booklets, but would these be OK? I would only send one at a time. Thanks for your help.
My mom used to find printable paper dolls online for my sister and I back in the late ’90s. Surely if you Google “Printable Paper Dolls” you could still find some. I enjoy drawing, so at one point I made my own paper doll for my previous sponsor child and then sent her a few hand-drawn outfits for it at a time.
Hi Jeannie! You are welcome to send these paper doll booklets. As long as these booklets fit the size guidelines (which they do!) and are made of paper, they should be fine. I appreciate that you are thinking outside of the box to send something special to your sponsored child! -Susan
You would have to take the cover off of the booklet. Otherwise it sounds fine to send. I would suggest if you child is younger to cut out the dolls and clothes for her. You don’t have to though.
I can understand why you limit most of the things that you do, but why cloth items? What if I made a cloth doll that fit inside one of the packages 8×11 x1/4″? Would that still not be allowed?
Hey Shauna! Everything we send is sent as a document so that we are not charged customs and duties fees. Because of this, everything we send must be made of paper.
Hi, if the only reason is customs & duty fees, if I was willing to pay that could I breech these restrictions?
Hi Mikey! The issue with having sponsors pay extra for the shipping, customs, & duty fees, is that in many cases we won’t know exactly what the customs in a particular country will charge for an item before we send it. Our country offices then have to pay the fees out of their own budget and send us the bill. Often the cost of customs & duty fees exceeds that of the worth of the item itself. For example we once tried to send a burned CD to Rwanda and they charged us $100 USD in fees for the CD! Secondly, items would have to be sent separately than other sponsors’ letters because they could be delayed by several weeks. Lastly, we have had instances where items that looked valuable were stolen in the mail on the way to a child. We would have a hard time guaranteeing that an item will make it to the child safely with current postal services in developing countries. We have just decided that it is not possible to send items that are not paper and within the guidelines even if a sponsor is willing to pay the extra fees. However, if you are ever traveling to the country where your child lives, you are welcome to bring whatever you can fit in your suitcase! -Susan
I have a cute calendar that I found which I would like to send to Lili…it is small–only 3 3/4″ x 6′. it has 2 stables holding the calendar pages on the bottom and it does have a magnet on the back..if I can get the magnetic strip off without destroying the whole thing, would I be able to send this to her?
I’ve always wondered about those stickers pictured, but choose not to buy them due to doubt. Now I’m glad I didn’t. Thanks for the blog post.
I have sent several pictures to my sponsored child because she keeps asking for them and really enjoys them, and i’ve got her picture in a frame in my living room. when i signed in today, i noticed that Compassion has updated her picture on her profile,. Do i get sent that picture too or is that just for me to look at online when i write her letters?
Yes! 🙂 You should get a tangible updated photo in the mail.
How can I find the children who have sponsors and their sponsors don’t write to them… or don’t have sponsors at all and I could just write to some of them? I already have a sponsored child and at this point, can’t afford another but it hurts my heart to hear about the kids who see their friends getting mail and they get nothing.
This is a quote from another blog here;
‘If you cannot afford the financial obligation but have lots of love in your heart to share with a child, call (800) 336-7676 and tell a representative that you would like to correspond with a child.
Compassion will assign you a precious child (or two!) who may be sponsored financially but does not receive correspondence. You can be an incredible blessing to that child by writing letters that express God’s love and affirm the child’s God-given potential.’
Courtesy of Compassion International: https://blog.compassion.com/the-real-ministry-of-child-sponsorship-lies-in-letter-writing/#ixzz21qKdnJR0
If you are from the UK I think you would have to email Compassion International USA as the UK dont run a correspondent programme.
Bless you for your wilingness to love another little one. 🙂
I understand that your distribution centers can’t handle all items, and that certain items are not appropriate to ship regardless of how they are delivered to other countries. That said, how do we send “acceptable items” to the local sponsoring church? Thank you.
Hey Dave! Everything you send needs to go through Compassion. You may send your letters and small gifts to Child Correspondence, Compassion International, Colorado Springs, CO 80997. We do not give out child or church partner contact information for security reasons.
Thanks for your reply, Shaina. I understand about the items going through Compassion. Unfortunately, now you are raising a very serious question of accountability in my mind. Are you saying that I can not even write a letter directly to the local church pastor?
We really don’t have any processes in place for you to write to the church pastor. You are welcome to write as much as you would like to your sponsored child. You are also welcome to plan an individual visit to meet your child and their church family or go on a sponsor tour.
While my wife and I do plan on visiting, I don’t understand Why you would not give contact information for the local church. I can understand not giving the family information for security reasons but it is not necessary to “have a process in place” for me to write to the local pastor. We are talking about a public place of worship – and the body of Christ. Are you saying you will not provide the local church information?
I’m sorry Dave, but no, we will not give out the local church’s contact information for security reasons. This is a Compassion wide policy to protect sponsors as well as the children in our program and our staff. If you have any questions about this, please give us a call at (800) 336-7676.
Forgive me if this has already been answered, but the kids and I were hoping to send our sporsored friends in TZ cardboard puzzles. Does that count as paper?
Also, should we out name and # on each piece, or would an envelope be sufficient?
Thanks so much!!
I believe there are many puzzles on the shelves today that are not quite 1/4″ thick but you would only be able to send one at a time since your packet cannot be more than 11″ long, 8-1/2″ wide and 1/4″ thick.
I’ve sent paperboard puzzles (the kind on the side of a cereal box) without a problem. I don’t think cardboard would go through though as corrugated cardboard is more than 1/4 inch thick and isn’t paper like as paperboard is thin like paper although it is more sturdy.
am i correct in assuming the mail i send to my sponsored child is opened by you? am a new sponsor and am preparing a 81/2 by 11 by1/4″ envelope with paper pictures and origami, which according to your list is what i can send. do you re-mail these with new postage or what do you do?
Hey Joanne! Yes, we will repackage your letter and goodies into another envelope that will be bulk shipped with other sponsor’s letters to your child’s country office.
thank you Shaina. my mail won’t be going out for another few weeks while i wait for the sponsor ship packet to arrive.
Hi I was wondering about pressed dried flowers and leaves? I like to make laminated bookmarks with pressed flowers in them and was wondering if that would be a problem? I tried to send a letter once with pressed flowers on it but it wasn’t able to be sent, but if the flowers were laminated does that make any difference?
Hi – someplace on this website I read a comment that included a link for a specific type of small books that could be sent. There were several different books of animals, and various topics. there was a dialog with the moderator regarding the books and the fact there were some staples… maybe the moderator recalls the link or could direct me to the post i am referring to. thanks!!
i’m a new sponsor and i was wondering, what are the regulations for sending birthday cards? for instance, i have a hallmark card that has a big 6 on it, that i thought would be perfect for my little girl’s 6th birthday this autumn, but it has a little bit of glitter on the front of the card, so i didn’t know if that would be an issue or not? and i’m guessing i would just send it to compassion’s address in colorado like i do with my letters?
Glitter is perfectly fine! And yes, send it to the same address as you send your letters. Be sure to include your child’s number and your sponsor number on the back of the card so we can process it correctly.
I am wondering about the covers on the little Dover books. Some of the covers are sticker scenes, dress up dolls etc. the Book would just be the stickers without the covers. is there any way to get these through?? Perhaps cutting it in someway or glueing it to something??
Reva, I’ve sent many of the little Dover books – some stickers, some paperdolls. MOST of them are less than 1/4 ” thick and can be sent “as is”. MOST, if you lie them flat, “spine of one book against the spine of the second book, with both books closed, you can run a piece of tape on both sides, holding the two books together and forming a 5″ x 7” rectangle that slips easily into a standard 5 x 7 manilla envelope, with room to send up to four pages of a letter (8 1/2 x 11) folded in half). In fact, this is my “standard” way to write my sponsored girls when I’m not writing via the beautiful new stationary online. Many standard size sticker pages, when folded in half, fit perfectly, also into the 5 x 7
The 5 x 7 envelopes are great for including birthday or holiday cards, 4 x 6 photos, postcards of where you live or are visiting, and many other things. I like to decorate them with stickers and personalize them with colorful markers and sayings, such as “Jesus loves (child’s name)” or “I love (child’s name)”. The thicker slightly padded envelopes are also great so that the child has something to save your letters in and for this reason, I sometimes send an 8 1/2 x 11 (the maximum size allowed) with even a short note and maybe several sheets of construction paper or sticker sheets. Back to your question about the Dover books…we ARE permitted to send paper that has a couple of staples in it! We just cannot send, say, a thin chain necklace or a pin, or anything other than staples as far as metal goes. I know that is sometimes confusing, as I once was, too! : )
Thank you Kim for the great tips! 🙂
My family places a lot of importance on education so all of are going to college, no question about it. I’m never really sure what to write to the little boy I sponsor in Togo, so I guess I repeat a lot of the things my Mom has told me, how important it is to study hard, that reading can take you places you can’t go by yourself, to experience what the author has seen and felt and heard.
Well I guess he really was reading all that. My child wrote in his last letter to me that this year he was going to study hard and be the best in his class. He said his sisters were as well and he wanted me to pray for him to do well, especially in arithmetic. I would really like to do more than just pray for him to do well in school. So far these are the things I’ve come up with..
1. I’ve been buying children’s books in french, ripping covers off and stapling the corner and sending them. This website is pretty much just children’s books in french and they have an English description so you know what you’re sending. http://lecturesdefrance.com/shop/index.php?l=page_view&p=interm_begin_readers
2. Posters – I’ve sent a world map, a times table chart, a map of the solar system.
3. I’ve been photocopying my little sisters math workbooks and sending the answer sheet stapled to the back.
4. I found this website and plan on sending a few pages at a time of these books for math in french. http://www.mathmammoth.com/french-books.php
What’s everyone else doing? I would love new ideas!
I would love to stay in touch and exchange ideas, my sponsorship child is in Burkina Faso. I live in Switzerland and my children go to the local French speaking school so I use some of their school work. I also buy a lot of educational books locally and online. Is there already a group for people who are using French materials?
As well as Maths, I’ve just started teaching learning to read in French progressing from alphabet to sounds to syllables to words. Are you interested?
Here is one link to a junior schools “sous main” which is usually used for sticking to card then leaning on, especially useful if you don’t have a table.
It’s in the section Sous Main CP 2010 and on 4 sheets has many key basic concepts in French.
If i start a group to share French materials are you interested?
Hello, Aura! I write to my sponsored children about what I am doing (trips, visiting friends, etc…). You could also write about seasons or things that happen in the US or your state. It is exciting to learn about other countries. Also, for more writing ideas try visiting this blog post- https://blog.compassion.com/letter-writing-ideas/
I have been reading about not being able to send gifts, and I understand all of the explanations given – to a point. Why is it that we can send shoe boxes full of gifts through Operation Christmas Child to the same countries, but cant send the same things to our sponsored children? I understand what you are saying about cost & customs etc. but wouldnt those same issues apply to the shoe boxes full of gifts??
Kathy, I’m not certain how the OCC operation is run, but I do believe I remember that they have worked out delivery in a less expensive way. I encourage you to contact to find out more about their program.
Thank you Shaina! Yes they will fit within the size guidelines. I did notice upon further inspection that one of them has some wire in it. But it is folded up very very small and thin. I did find her some paper dolls and I took them out of the package and put them in a small ziplock. I am trying to figure out how to make a lap book! That will be in the next package I send her! I have lost time to make up for! I have been a bad parent! I shopped the past few days to start a small container with things for her and ideas so that I will have something to go to when I am ready to write on fridays! I also bought some small clear labels that you can print on from your computer (avery) to put her name and number on all of her things. It took me forever and a day to write on all the pages last time! They cost just over a penny each so I thought that was worth it! What about laminating things? I have seen people say that they do laminate things. Does that go through? I have a laminator and thought I might make her a bookmark or laminate other things she could share, like mazes. Do they have markers? Crayons? I wish I could send these things with the gentlemen that is going soon! I don’t think he has room! He offered to take a cd or photos for me! So very nice! Thank you for all of the help! I can’t wait to get into the swing of things!
Today I found several things at the dollar store that I am wondering if I can send. They are all paper. I guess I am worried about them being appropriate more than anything. I read a post about how these children live and I think does she really want a bright paper lantern to hang in her room? Can she hang it up? Does she have anything to hang it with? These kinds of things. I took some photos of the items in question but I do not know how to post them here. I am new! 🙂 Thanks!
As long as they are paper and fit within the size guidelines, you can send them to your child. I think a paper lantern is a wonderful idea! It will brighten up their home or your child can hang it at the church. If we aren’t able to send an item to your child, we will definitely let you know.
Are thin paper books allowed bound by staples only? I noticed books are listed under no longer can send. If no, could i take it apart and just staple it at a corner? I dont want to send anything that my hold up the mail.
Everything we send must be able to be claimed as a document. We can’t claim that for a book. If you choose a few pages from the book that you would like to send and staple them together, we would be able to send those. If the book is not too thick (less than 1/4″), you can simply take the cover off and send it with staples.
To put some of the “Can I send this gift?” requests in perspective, your child can probably buy basic material goods like clothes, toiletries, etc. that are appropriate for that country at much, much lower prices than you could send something. Just as an example, I sent a Christmas present of about $25 and got a letter from my sponsored child telling me what he bought with it. It was amazing – something like (if I recall correctly) a big sack of flour, a big can of cooking oil, and a bed he could sleep in when he was at home. An older girl I sponsor bought a couple of different colors of nice fabric for new traditional clothes.
If you want to send special remembrances or cultural items like photos, maps, post cards, etc. it makes sense to do that. But for the cost of sending a larger gift, you could send the child some money as a gift and they could buy what they really need.
I just signed up today and excited to get started. A little boy from Indonesia. I think it is going to be fun to be able to watch him grow. I have seen alot of the suggestions on what to send and that will help in sending thing’s. Thank you for that.
I want to see my child art supplies–tablets, crayons, markers, paints. Are any of these items allowed?
No, only paper items are able to be sent to children. Sorry!
Shaina, thanks for this post. We have just begun sponsoring a little Kenyan girl whose birthday is coming up, and this has answered many questions we had. A monetary gift through the “additional giving” portal seems the best choice this time.
I am confused! I have read chunks of this long blog… I thought we could send stickers and photos and nothing else ~ but in the photos here it says the stickers were not able to be sent to the child. Please put the answer to the question somewhere: “What gifts am I able to send to my child?”
Brenda, YES, you can send stickers. That picture confused a lot of us. The particular stickers pictured apparently have liquid gel in them and that is why they could not be sent. Flat paper stickers are fine to send.
Thank you very much!
Hey Shaina- are you a worker at Compassion? I am new- I just got a little sponsor girl from Nicaragua!!
Congrats on your sponsored child! Yes, I work at Compassion in the sponsor services department. 🙂
I was wondering where do I find the address to mail a letter or gift directly by mail to my sponsored child. I have done the online gifts and emails but I want to mail a photo card and stickers to her. Please let me know. Thanks!!
For security reasons, you’re not able to send mail directly to your child. You can send your letters and stickers to your child through Compassion- just be sure to include your sponsor number and her child number. Mail to Compassion International. Colorado Springs, CO 80997.
I understand the desire to send some slightly odd things to your sponsored child, I would love to send my girl in Burkina Faso an American girl doll but that would be WAY TOO extravegant for a girl in her culture and way too hard to send and the books that go with her or any American girl would make little more likely no sense to my girl. I do not understand some of the things people try to send but some things I would understand. My issue becomes how often do I send a monetary gift separate from my general sponsorship? I never want to go overboardx so try to only send for Christmas and her birthday sometimes I can send another gift other times. I have a limited income any way so that keeps me safe from sending too much or things that could not go to her any way. Blessings
I’ve just started to sponsor a girl in Burkina Faso. She is part of the Dagouma CDC. I would love to know your experiences. My email is [email protected]
If I go to visit my girl, would you like me to let you know?
I just sponsored a child and would like to send out a card and some coloring pages. I found flat, manila envelopes at two stores and they state on the package they are 9″x12″. Would these envelopes be too big? If so, where do you find the actual 8 1/2″x11″ envelopes?
Yes, that will be fine. The contents in the envelope need to be 8.x11x.25″ or smaller, the envelope goes to Compassion’s Colorado office. So it is okay if the envelope is a little bigger.
Shaina and Lizzie, Thank you both so much! Yes, I will call Compassion to find out what they got with the gift money – it’s great to know that’s available. It’s good to know of the changes coming in June 2012, too! One last question (for this month, anyway!): When I have the time, I read blogs to educate myself, but I usually find other blogs listed as “related” and continue to go from there. Is there a central place where ALL blog subjects are listed that I can go to? I’m obviously not very skilled in my searching abilities! Again, please know how much we appreciate the tips and explanations to all of you who write in – I hope that someday I may be able to help others and answer their questions, too.
There is so much valuable information on the blog! I’m so glad you are enjoying it. You can view all article by year by selecting “Archives” from the top menu and then selecting the year you would like to view.
btw i was told when you write your child they have to write you back. is this true? I remember it used to be 2x a year so im hoping that they do have to write us back when they get it. Because i am excited about having him his name is Juma
Actually, Juma should be writing you three times a year write now. Though he can write more often if he wishes. I believe that you are thinking of what will be happening in July 2012. Then if the sponsor does not write to their child, they will only get two letters. If the sponsor writes their child 1x a month, they should get 6 letters a year. It is a learning process for the kids. The hope is, once they start getting lots of letters and writing 1x every 60 days, they will decide to write more often. I hope you get many letters from Juma and that your friendship with him will grow. Lizzie
Beginning June 2012, the correspondent guidelines will change so that all countries are reciprocal countries. This means that when you write to your child, they will write back. If you do not write to your child, you will receive a minimum of two letters each year from your child and one from a person that works for Compassion in that country. Here’s more info: https://blog.compassion.com/changes-to-our-letter-writing-process/
i sent him money for his birthday and i just got my confirmation info for him. when i i know that he got my birthday money and 3 additional months i paid for him?
It can take up to 6 months for your child to receive your money gift. So it may be 8 months before you hear from him about the money. You can always call Compassion (800-336-7676) and check with them to see if your child has received the money yet. If he has, they can also tell you what he got at least from my understanding. Hope this helps, Lizzie
Lizzie, our reply may have answered some of my questions. Somewhere I read that it takes two months to get there and two months to return, so I thought 4 months was the longest it took – only half the time of the possible 8 months you mentioned. I need to work on my patience! : ) I will say that sponsoring a child from a third world country has greatly expanded my prayer life! There are sooo many small things that I’ve taken for granted in the past that I now thank God for. Especially clean water! Which makes clean HOT water abundantly above! We are so very blessed and there’s no doubt that sponsoring these precious children has given me MUCH more than I could ever give them! What an opportunity to have CI to make this available for us – I pray for CI everytime I pray for my children, because without CI this wouldn’t be available!
Yes it usually takes 2-3 months for each letter. But, for money gifts it takes longer. I am not sure why, I have just heard a bunch of sponsors saying that it does.
It takes 2-3 months for letter and monetary gifts to reach a child and about 2-3 months for a child’s letter to reach a sponsor. 🙂
So, in order for the birthday gift I send to my sponsored child to reach her any where near her birthday, I should send it at least 2 months in advance and pray like crazy for her on her actual birthday, right?!
Yes, we encourage you to send your birthday gift at least 2 months in advance. If it doesn’t arrive exactly on your child’s birthday, that’s ok. They’re still going to be just as excited to receive your gift!
Cayla, you should receive a letter from him in 4-6 months letting you know what was purchased with your birthday money. I know he’ll be so excited to receive it! You can check your account status on http://www.compasison.com under “My Account” to check to see if we have received the additional 3 month donation.
Lizzie and Shaina, thank you both very much for your help. Even though my sponsored children are from a reciprocal country, (Rwanda), I do see where it’s been noted that it doesn’t mean you will receive letters any more often than 3 times a year. I write a minimum of once a month, often 2-3 times a month and never get more than 3 letters a year, so when I read about reciprocal countries I was puzzled. I wonder if it also might have to do with having enough translators available to decipher letters from the children? It sure can be puzzling to read where some write of ALWAYS getting a letter when a monetary gift is received and even every time a letter is sent, when I often don’t hear from my sponsored children even when I’ve sent family gifts of $100 – $200. It was good to read that in some cultures, it isn’t necessarily considered good manners to acknowledge monetary gifts or letters and little gifts of stickers, paperdolls, and the like, as I’ve sometimes wondered if my children were actually receiving them or not. I feel better now that I understand that much of this is probably just simply due to my “western way of thinking” that not all cultures share, as I often forget this. THANK YOU to everyone that writes in – you’ve educated me in ways you’ll never know! This is of great value!
I’m so glad we could be of help! Would you give us a call at (800) 336-7676? If you haven’t heard what was purchased with your gifts, we can contact the field office and find out for you. We definitely want you to know how it was used!
Hey, Lizzie, how can I find out if my two girls are from a “reciprical country”? I’ve seen this mentioned on another post. I called Compassion and the gentleman said that he had no idea what I was talking about – that he had never heard the term “reciprical country” and even asked another person in the office and she had not a clue, as well! By the way, my two girls are in Africa – Rwanda, to be exact. Finally, I cannot send this on without first complimenting you on your amazing heart, maturity, compassion, excellent spelling, proper English, great ideas, thoughts and suggestions for us sponsors, and I could go on and on! I would have never guessed that you were only 13! Amazing! You are such an inspiration!
Hey Kim! Sorry you weren’t able to find an answer to your question when you called us. You can find information on reciprocal countries here: https://support.compassion.com/compassion/topics/what_countries_are_reciprocal_letter_countries
Okay, I found the list of the reciprocal writing countries. They are
Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Kenya, Nicaragua, Peru, Rwanda, Thailand, and Tanzania (Courtesy of Compassion International: https://blog.compassion.com/letter-writing-reciprocal/#ixzz1gVzP5Q3X). So Rwanda is on the list, but it really depends on the actual project center. They are supposed to make sure that the child writes every time they receive a letter, but it is probably very hard to make sure every child does so. If you read the link I posted above, you can see that Compassion is trying to keep the correspondence regular. There are many changes taking place in July, so I suggest you read that post.
And thank you very much! I have been reading alll about Compassion through their blog and comments as well as others’ Compassion related blogs and Compassion’s other communities (like GetSatisfaction) in the last 8 months. I really appreciate your comments 🙂
i have had my child for about a year now, and im so grateful to have her. I haven’t been getting her letters as frequently though. I heard you only recieve them about 3 times a year, is that corrret?
Ellie, while Compassion kids are required to write a certain amount of letters each year to their sponsors, if they are written TO, they can actually send a great deal more than that. I get between 2-6 letters from my child in Indonesia each month (a few days ago I got a fat envelope filled with five letters, stapled together)! Then a few times a month I also hear from my kids in Haiti, Thailand, and Tanzania. The more often you write to your sponsor kids, they may write back more often. Of course, sometimes they do not- letter writing may not be a popular cultural pastime, the child may be too busy, or may feel that he or she doesn’t have much to say. But as your relationship with your sponsor child grows, there’s a good chance you will receive more than the required letters per year.
Wow! Your girl in Indonesia must really love writing you! I also have a little girl in Indonesia and one in Haiti. Mine are from IO787 and HA146, where are yours from? Wouldn’t it be cool if they were from the same project?!
Yes this is correct- you will recieve only 3 letters a year from your child currently. If she is from a reciprical writing country, you should get a letter from her each month if you write her once a month. What country is she from?
In July 2012, Compassion projects will be changing the letter writing process some. You can read about the changes here https://blog.compassion.com/changes-to-our-letter-writing-process/ I encourage you to look at the comments as well. They are quite helpful.
I encourage you to keep writing your child. She loves your letters. If you read the part about letter writing in your little booklet about her, it may help you understand why she does not write you often. Oh and of course, your child is always able to write you more often. I am sure she will treasure your letters as much as you treasure hers.
If you have any other question, just ask!
Thanks for posting the “Can I send this?” video. It’s sad to see that someone spent a lot of money sending gifts that can’t be used for their intended purpose, but it’s a good example for us.
I’m not quite sure why people give or donate inappropriate things, but I’ve seen it happen a lot. It may be that they are focusing on good intentions only. But truly good intentions include remembering other people’s needs.
did i mention im a 15 yr old kid who is new to the whole program? sry i forgot to mention that.
I am 13, and I new to Compassion as well. Are you on OurCompassion?
That’s awesome! I started sponsoring when I was 17. Best decision ever. Have you had a chance to join OurCompassion.org yet? Its a great place to meet sponsors. You can also ask any questions you have on our support network: https://support.compassion.com
http://www.bloggingfromtheboonies.com/2011/04/more-goodies-for-your-compassion-kids.html This post has a lot of ideas for gifts we can send that do fit within the mailing requirements!
how come we cant send things like toothpaste or toothbrushes?
It is extremely expensive to mail things overseas both from shipping and customs fees as well as a high rate of theft. My church looked into shipping gifts for the 30 kids in an orhphange missionaries at our church run in Zambia. Just to ship small tems (teddy bears, nerf soccer balls, craft kits, etc), it would have been several hundred dollars in postage plus customs fees. At that cost, it would have been much cheaper to simply donate money to the orphanage and have them buy gifts locally. My church decided to put these gifts in a shipping container they were sending with other items that could not be purchased locally in Zambia and it went over there on a barge…with the cost of around $18,000 USD. Nope, not a typo, it is super expensive to ship internationally! CI ships everything as documents, which cuts down on shipping, custom fees and in theory theft as documents are as ‘fun’ to steal as toys, clothing, and necessitities. You can donate money to have your child purchase needed items although I believe a toothbrush and toothpaste are provided by every project. You could send a family gift to let the project decide how the family can best use it or specify that if they don’t have personal hygiene supplies that you would like them to purchase those.
For a current list of what CI can send via mail:
Cayla, as stated above by Shaina who works for Compassion: “When we send a package of letters to our field offices, we claim that only documents are contained. This ensures that the letters are processed in customs quickly and we avoid costly customs fees for trying to send items of value. Sometimes, the cost of customs fees would even exceed the value of the gift being shipped.
Courtesy of Compassion International: https://blog.compassion.com/can-i-send-this-gift-to-my-sponsored-child/#ixzz1fgLZJsxD”
That said, you can send monetary gifts and lots of different paper gifts that fit within the requirements. Click my name in blue and my blog has lots of ideas!! 😀
When we ship items to our field office, we claim that everything is a document. By claiming this, we are not charged customs or duties fees. If an item was found in the package that was not classified as a document, we would be charged high fees for it.
I don’t know why there aren’t local centers in the children’s countries that sponsors could send bulkier or homemade gifts to their sponsor child or children if they are willing to foot the cost from their own pockets and Compassion wouldn’t have to pay a cent on the shipping.
Things get stolen. Many countries are very, very corrupt, and their customs officials are not paid well, dishonest, or whatever, and will steal whatever they happen to like. Paper items are not particularly interesting or valuable compared to homemade quilts, candy, personal hygeine items, etc. The odds of these items actually making it through customs are pretty low. My boyfriend lives in Ukraine and bought a computer from the US, had it shipped to me, and then I shipped it as “electronics parts” because odds are an iMac wouldn’t make it. Ukraine isn’t nearly as poor or corrupt as many countries Compassion works in; imagine trying to get something valuable (and what we perceive as valuable might be vastly different than what they do; a 24 box of Crayola crayons can cost $10 or more in some countries) through Haiti’s customs. Virtually impossible. Besides that, Compassion clears every item not only for size and shape, but for appropriateness. Not all sponsors are Christians or share Compassion’s standards, and even if they do, there are specific cultural considerations that sponsors may not be aware of. A certain item that we would consider harmless might be offensive to your child’s family. (Besides, while you hate to think that any sponsor would send an item that was deliberately harmful, there are sick people out there.) Therefore, for these reasons, every item needs to go through the correspondence department, which means that every item will be shipped by Compassion. Figuring up the cost of shipping, especially when many items are sent together, would be a very time-consuming and difficult process (how do you decide how much of a $250 shipping bill your soccer ball is vs. Sponsor X’s blanket?).
Sorry for the lengthy answer. The short answer? It’s easier for Compassion and safer for the kids if you just send paper items.
I sent my little girl paper dolls, but she didn’t mention them and I hear from her often. How do I know if they were sent?
I have found that at times my child has mentioned small gifts specifically but the translator doesn’t list them. For instance my child said “thank you for the calender, color pages and stickers” but it was translated as “Thank you for all that you do for me.” I’m lucky that my child writes in french and I can read it fairly well. I actually chuckled at the thought that the translator was probably tired and wanted to make the letter a little more brief! However, I guess it wouldn’t be as funny if I was hoping for the recognition of the receipt of my gifts and I couldn’t read it for myself.
Jan, I frequently send paper items of interest to my kids in letters. I sometimes get a reply thanking me for pictures or postcards, but the other items (paper tangrams, calendars, etc.) have not be specifically acknowledged outside of stating thanks for pictures and letters. I would assume your child received them as CI didn’t mention they weren’t sent. CI states they always contact a sponsor when something that cannot be mailed to the child is received. If you want to confirm that the letter sent to you wasn’t lost in the mail or misdirected, then you can simply email compassion, use the live chat feature or call them and have your account looked up. You also could ask your little girl in a letter and if you have your questions stand out numbered and starred or highlighted, hopefully she will answer them. I do sometimes find it hard when my kids only answer some of my questions, but I hope she will answer that one for you!
Gift idea: Cosmetic Dept -stickers that stick on finger nails without glue- stars, rainbows, animals etc. Non-gel type.My little girl in Africa is now 18 and loved them.
I would like to donate full computer systems to families and communities in the Dominica Republic. I own a Electronics Recycling Company and would like to facilitate a Leadership through Technology Program.
Thanks for all the help. I was able to purchase some stickers and a christmas card and got those in the mail.
Karen,I sponsor a girl in Indonesia, she will be 11 next April, and I have sent her; colouring pages printed from websites, mazes, thin ‘magic painting’ books (where you put water on the pictures and the colours appear- couldnt send a paintbrush but she could use a piece of damp cloth or dip her finger in water), postcards, stickers, cardboard bookmarks, photo’s, bible verse cards, a thin ‘magic slate’, thin maths workbooks, my fingerprints made into cartoon animals, a letter writing set, cards at different times of the year- Easter, Birthday,Valentines day or at anytime if I see a pretty card. Letters from her can take 3-4 months to get to me as her island is so remote, but I try to write once a month. I have found http://www.ourcompassion.org to be a great resource for ideas and support. I recommend all sponsors to join. 🙂
Those are some great ideas! So I was wondering is your little girl from IO787 (that is where mine is from)?
That’s on Sumba island isn’t it? No-my girl is from IO673 on Timor island. Not far from Sumba though. I didnt know anything about Indonesia until I began sponsoring in 2009 but I’ve tried to find out all I can since then. I wish letters didnt take so long though!.
Actually IO787 is on Matawai. I just looked it up on Bing maps, and they say that both islands are actually only one island! But, either way I believe that they’re close 🙂 I have been learning all I can about Indonesia too. But, I just started correspondence sponsoring in June of this year. And yes, me too, I wish the letters were quicker.
Thank you for all this great info, especially to Lizzie! We’re very excited to correspond with our sponsored child in Indonesia, and your suggestions really help get the ball rolling. We only JUST signed up at a recent Jeremy Camp concert, so I’m afraid a Christmas card might be late, but I think we’ll still send one to him with pictures of our family, our town, the surrounding mountains (we live near Yellowstone), etc.
I am glad to be of help! Yes, your card may be late, but then again, it might not 🙂 Just curious, is your boy from IO787 (that is where my little girl is from)?
You can send manilla envelopes (like the scotch brand) that are 8.5 by 11 by .25 inches. You should look at the link at the bottom of the post and read over the entire thing. It helps a lot. I sponsor an eight year old girls in Indonesia. I have sent her stickers and paperdolls. Also pictures of me, my family and friends (labeled). And scenery pictures from the Adirondacks (we went camping there). A Christmas card (one that plays music is especially exciting for them) would be good to send out like tomorrow. That way she should get it aroung Christmas. And of course. letters. Send them often, tell her you love her, and about your job, family, friends, adn any/everything else. She’ll love learning about you.
If you have any other questions, just ask! Hope this helps!
I am brand new to sponsoring. What specifics do I need to know about envelope size and what I should send to an 8 year old girl in Peru?
[quote comment=”34941″]I am bummed that the guidelines are so strict for what can and cannot be sent. I was very much looking forward to making my child a home-made quilt, and now I am learning that I can send nothing more than paper. I understand that there are issues in customs for each country, but are there reasons beyond that?[/quote]
One idea may be to make friends with other Compassion sponsors and if ones travels to the country where your sponsored child is (or anyone you know travels there) and would be willing to drop the quilt off at the country office, you could get it to your child.
What country is your child in? I am going to Brazil in May. I would be happy to take your quilt.
Another reason for not sending items is that not only are there shipping costs, customs cost/issues, but items get stolen. I had made some cross stitch bookmarks and was told that hand made crafts get stolen frequently.
My child is in Brazil. Would you have room to take a gift to the country office? She is 14 and it is difficult to know what (small) things to send anymore. The girl must have enough stickers to fill a boat by now! 🙂
Thanks for this post. I know Compassion partner countries around the world have this same problem. While it’s great that Compassion passes these onto other charities, or returns them, it does make staff sad that they can’t send them through.
The best gifts are child and family gifts as the family can buy what they need the most in their local economy. For the $25 postage + cost of that box that couldn’t be sent, as a family gift the child could possibly have bought a months worth of food, or a chicken.
Besides, the blogs listed above, I suggest checking out ourcompassion.org I have found so many great ideas, and the best part is that I know they will keep me busy for a long time!
I am bummed that the guidelines are so strict for what can and cannot be sent. I was very much looking forward to making my child a home-made quilt, and now I am learning that I can send nothing more than paper. I understand that there are issues in customs for each country, but are there reasons beyond that?
Christine: I agree with you. I crochet and wanted to make my girl an afghan in bright colors. Strangely enough, this morning I was wondering (or perhaps I was getting a Godly message!!!) to make granny squares in thin-enough yarn and send it square by square and then finally send the yarn for her or her mom to put together. I wonder if that’s doable? I’m going to ask…
A quilt is a WONDERFUL thing to make for your child! Only thing is, you have to visit him/her in person to give it to him/her! That is the most wonderful thing ever to meet your child in person – either on Compassion trip or an individual trip!
I’m sad that we cannot send it either (I love to make quilts. But like Al said the cost for shipping is soooo high. Also, in some countries the person who receives a package like that has to pay a steep fee too.
Maybe the best way to get a quilt to your child would be to find someone traveling to the country and ask if they would have room in their suitcase to take it. They could then drop it off at the Country office, and it could be delivered from there. (www.ourcompassion.org is a good place to meet other sponsors)
Another idea is to make a bookmark. I once saw a sponsor cut a piece of pretty fabric, laminate it into a bookmark, and send it that way. Maybe you could do a small minature pieced bookmark-shapped design and laminate that. Just make sure that your seams lie flat.
I completely understand, Christine. When we send a package of letters to our field offices, we claim that only documents are contained. This ensures that the letters are processed in customs quickly and we avoid costly customs fees for trying to send items of value. Sometimes, the cost of customs fees would even exceed the value of the gift being shipped. I encourage you to connect with Ourcompasion.org. You can find other sponsors who sponsor children in the same country or area as your sponsored child. I’ve even heard of people taking gifts to other’s sponsored children when they visit. You are also welcome to send your sponsored child monetary gifts and he or she will get to choose something that they need or want.
Amazon allow sending to many places and charge the sender to enable the customs duties to be covered.This is part of their Amazon Global Program. Would it not be possible for some items sponsors want to send to send to the field office themselves clearly marking which child the item is for? This would allow more items to be sent, if the giver covers the costs, and cut down on unneccessary sending costs for you central office. It would also allow us to send gifts which will have greater perceived value. I love the creativity of trying to get so many items through, and am buying posters etc to write my letters on but wonder if it not be nicer for the child and allow them to feel more valued if they got complete items rather than ones that appear to be damaged – they may not understand why we are ripping them first to make them small enough to send. Why can’t we send to the field office or the compassion project if we are prepared to risk the items getting stolen. After all every time we send money there is a risk it is stolen as acknowledgements seem few and far between from reading the comments.
After the items are mailed to the Compassion office in your country, they need to be shipped overseas, and international rates for postage for packages are really expensive. It could easily use up most of the amount of monthly support to ship a large package internationally. In addition, some of the projects are in remote areas, and mail sometimes has to be transported in ways that aren’t typical in our own countries. Bringing large items could be difficult for a mail deliverer traveling by bike or on foot, for example.
It sounds like you are good at crafts, and if so, there are all kinds of creative paper-based projects you could make for your child. You might enjoy making a lapbook as some of the members on OurCompassion have done.
Great post! I am going to share this on my blog!
The stickers won’t go because they are filled with liquid. (They have these new puffy stickers that are filled with liquid and have things floating in them.) The puzzle won’t go because it exceeds the size limit. Also, it’s wood.
Yes, I was wondering about the stickers too. Also, the puzzle looks like it fits the criteria. Can it not be sent because it’s a dragon?
Rebecca’s suggestion is a great one also because I would love to send something besides stickers.
I agree with Rebecca. Last year I sent a birthday card that had 3 silly bands enclosed already (from Hallmark) and hope it was ok. This year the card I have just has a game to punch out from paper. I would love to see some creative ideas. The older the kids we sponsor get, the less inclined I feel to send things I’ve always sent, like color pages, and empty paper.
Me, too! (the silly bands) Yes, I can appreciate your questions, Jlynn! I was also curious about the cards that you can record on or that play music when opened, as now I’m wondering if the recording part of the card was removed or not. It would be great to see an article of the “most frequently mailed items” that must be removed from our mailings. I GUESSED that the silly bands would be okay, since CI has bandaids on their list of approved items to send and they also have thin plastic in them and are not exclusively made of only paper, but I could be wrong. I’ve also sent “cardboard” miniature jigsaw puzzles that I’ve put together to form “a flat piece of paper” less than 1/4 inch thick and attached them to the “cover” cut off of the the puzzle box. I’ve found alphabet stickers that older kids can use to mark their books or notebooks or decorate things for their rooms or cards they make for friends or family along with the construction paper I send. I also send my girls the decorated blank paper (that we use for computerized invitations and the like) that they can use as stationary. I also look for the more difficult books of mazes and the like and send ten pages at a time. Also paper stencils of flowers. I’ve also sent a page of English words with the equivilent word in their language, as dictionaries are not available (at least I can’t find one!) in their African language. (I found these words by searching Google by typing in English to Kinyarwanda translation/dictionary and have been led to blogs some precious person has written for us.) It’s nice to be able to write a few phrases in their native language and I’m hoping that this shows them how much I care for them. One of them, in turn, wrote to me in ENGLISH, “May God bless you!” and it meant so much to me! But, you’re right, Jlynn, it IS getting harder to come up with ideas as our children are growing up. One more thing worth mentioning is that (depending where our children live) is that often they are way behind our country in “develpmental” age. For example,one of my sponsored girls LOVES the African paperdolls I found for her and she is 13, while my biological daughter would had thought I’d lost my mind if I gave her a paperdoll when she was 13! Also, I add a little note that if the item is “too young” for them, to please give it to a younger friend or sibling. That way, your child is blessed with your letter and another child is blessed with the little gift and your child is blessed by being able to GIVE a gift. Just a thought.
I love all your ideas. Hugely creative and a great way to get materials through which are educational. Thank you.
Kim, you gave me some great ideas yourself! thank you. I’m motivated to pick up a bunch of things as I hit some stores tomorrow!!
Would love to see a post with pics/video of creative things that sponsors have sent that are mailable.
I sponsor a 9yr old boy in Togo. I think he’s learning French in school.. so I buy French children’s books, I rip the covers off and pull apart the pages and send them with a staple in the top corner. I haven’t heard anything from Compassion so I assume they go through. I like the educational ones like about space or bees.
I also have sent a world map (i got a picture of him holding it), stickers, coloring pages, magic paint pages, magic screens, paper dolls for his sisters, puzzles, math pages for him to practice with and answer keys, band-aids, folders (i trim the edges to make them the right size), a chart of the solar system, soccer posters, sports cards, 3d drawing paper, construction paper, origami, my artwork, photographs, postcards, stencils… that’s all i can think of right now. I feel sorry for the poor sucker who has to sort through my mail, though i do try to keep it all labeled and organized.
That’s a cool idea about the book.. lol
I think this would be a great idea! There are always some things that I am not sure about and feel somewhat limited in know what to send.
I share a lot of ideas on my blog, Rebecca! Here is one post! http://www.bloggingfromtheboonies.com/2011/04/more-goodies-for-your-compassion-kids.html
I have a few things on my blog, as well:
I’m glad that things that are unsuitable are used to make shoeboxes for Christmas. But I am wondering what is wrong with the stickers? is there a liquid in them or are they unsuitable for some other reason?
I think it is because they are not flat stickers. The picture looks like they are puffy or something. Flat stickers are okay.
I have sent stickers and flat pictures, or post cards. If it is flat and will fit in the envelope it’s OK. I have also sent coloring pages. Right now our son is in Indonesia, visting our sponsored child, and he took a knapsack of things with him. Otherwise if you send money and request that a certain item is bought for your child, Compassion will try very hard to see that it happens. They have plenty of school supplies, I am told. Remember too that games and books written in English can not be read. Hope you can all get your gifts to the children, but they don’t expect presents. Thank you all for sponsoring. It’s a very good thing! 🙂
Hi Gerry, normally you can send stickers. These however were filled with gel so we couldn’t send them.
Shaina, would the “wipe off writing board” have been okay to send IF the marker was not attached? I ask, because I HAVE sent such things (within proper size restrictions) and I have NEVER been contacted by CI to tell me that similar gifts have been removed, and that, did I want them returned to me. I have also sent small puzzles (again, within the size limits) that were put together, so that they were completely FLAT, made of HEAVY paper, and have not received any calls, emails, or letters from CI to ask if I wanted them back, or donated to charity. I guess my question is this: DOES CI ALWAYS CONTACT THE SENDER TO INQUIRE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THEY WOULD LIKE AN ITEM DONATED TO CHARITY? CAN WE ASSUME THAT IF WE DO NOT HEAR FROM CI, THEN OUR SMALL GIFTS WERE MAILED TO OUR CHILDREN? My sponsored children have NEVER mentioned anything about sending them these small gifts and also paperdolls, stickers, etc. , so NOW I’m wondering if they didn’t receive them. I write my girls at least once a month, often 2-3 times a month, and I just thought that maybe in Rwanda, it wasn’t appropriate for their culture to thank people for gifts. After reading this EXCELLENT article, I’m wondering if my gifts are being removed by CI and they simply aren’t contacting me to ask about donating such inexpensive gifts. Please answer, Shaina, as many of us sponsors don’t experience things as posts often read and we want to know. (Such as reciprical countries – I don’t even receive 3 letters each year, much less anywhere near to receiving a reply to every letter or monetary gift that I’ve sent. When I send FAMILY gifts of $100 or more $, they are not even acknowledged, though the smaller, say $20 CHILD gift SOMETIMES is. I don’t want to be unintentionally rude to my children by directly asking, if this is considered to be normal behavior for their country, but at the same time, I DO want to know if the gifts, whether puzzles, stickers, small $, large $, are or are not being received. Does CI ALWAYS notify sponsors if a gift (any kind of gift) is not forwarded to a child for any reason at all? Thanks so much, Shaina! I so appreciate your contributions to the articles I’ve read. You’ve taught me so much!
Maybe the board you sent was thick cardboard so it went through. Just a thought.
I don’t believe the wipe off board could have been sent without the marker as it was made of wood. If we could have sent it without the marker, I know that our correspondence team would have altered it to be sent. Yes, we will always contact you if we cannot send something through. I’ve actually sat down in our processing department and watched the team open sponsor mail and prep it to be sent to the field. The steps they take to actually enable the mail to be sent is incredible. Everyone on that team is very thoughtful and does everything they can to help the mail get through. As for the monetary gifts, go ahead and call us so we can check on those. You should receive a minimum of 3 letters each year and should always receive an acknowledgement letter for any monetary gift given. I don’t see any issues with asking your sponsored child if they received your other gifts (puzzles, stickers, etc.). It doesn’t hurt to just check. 🙂
Shaina, this is wonderful to know. I so appreciate that you’ve taken so much time and have had so much patience with my questions. You’ve cleared up a lot of question marks and it’s so good to know that the processing department goes to such lengths to try and get our little gifts through. What an excellent article and feedback!
Gerry, If you look at the caption above the pictures, it is asking you to pick out which you think are acceptable to send. At the bottom of the pictures is a link to show you which are acceptable. The link shows that stickers are acceptable.
So can I send a shoebox to my kid?
I’m sorry, gottabigheart, but we are not able to send shoeboxes to the kids. All of the items need to be flat, paper, and no more than 8 1/2″ x 11″. Check this list out for more items that can be sent: https://www.compassion.com/letter-writing/tips-for-mailing-small-gifts.htm -Susan
YOu are reading it incorrectly. It says that NONE of these items are acceptable. The stickers are gel filled – that is why they are not acceptable.
“Ok, ok. It was a trick question. None of the items can be sent through the mail. ”
Sorry, Kay, looks like *those* stickers can’t be sent.
Gerry, the question at the top of the pictures, asks which do you think are acceptable to send. Then if you click on the link below the pictures, you will see that stickers are acceptable to send.
Not so,., it says that ‘all of the above items are NOT eligible to send’. Even those stickers. They are more than gel filled.
They look like those gel stickers to me.