A few times a year, we at Food for the Hungry (FH) send you a letter from your sponsored child. They typically tell you about their favorite classes, their hobbies, their family. Then they usually will ask you a question. That’s one prompt for your response, but what else is there to say? And what about the times where you want to write a letter on your own?
Maybe child sponsorship can feel tricky for you at times because you’re not sure how you can relate to this person across the globe (or is that just me?). You don’t want to talk about material things in too much detail, like your new house or car purchase. If you go too much in detail about your struggles or pains, that could border on inappropriate. Your sponsored child can’t or doesn’t watch the same TV shows and movies as you do either, so no use comparing your favorites as you do with your friends.
But there are still so many things you can talk about in your child sponsorship letters!
Here are 5 Things to Include in Your Next Letter
A child in Ethiopia holds up a drawing and family photo he received from his sponsor.
Tell your sponsored child about you and your family (and send photos!)
Your sponsored child wants to know about you, and one great way to get to know you better is by learning about your family. Tell them about your spouse and your children, if you have any. Or if you don’t, you can tell them about your parents and your siblings, or your best friends! If your friend or a family member has a job they might be familiar with (such as teacher, doctor, police officer) tell them about it. What kinds of things do they see from the day today? If your children are in school too, try to relate that to what your sponsored child is experiencing. If your sponsored child loves math, you can say: “I’m so happy to hear you love math! My son is in second grade, and he’s learning how to add. Have you learned how to add yet?” Even better–have your kids write your sponsored child directly. Since school is a common ground, you can talk about what your favorite subjects in school are or used to be. Sending a photo back with your letter will help your sponsored child feel even more connected with you!
An FH Peru staff member reads the Bible with a community member. It’s so easy to show your sponsored child you care for them by sharing Christ’s love with them.
Tell them God loves them.
It is so important for children to know that God loves them. You can share your favorite Bible story or verse with the child, or even write it on a separate notecard for them to have at home. These topics will encourage sponsored child and help them feel loved and special.
If your sponsored child lives in a religiously sensitive country such as Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, or India, you won’t be able to say these words so directly, but we still have many great tips for showing Christ’s love to your sponsored child. Click here to read more about writing to your child in a sensitive community.
A boy in Burundi smiles at the camera during school.
Encourage them to study hard and stay in school.
Many children who live in the developing world face obstacles that can make attending school rather difficult. Whether that be lack of infrastructure, familial need for additional income, the cost of uniforms or supplies, or difficulty traveling, many factors have the potential to cause the child to drop out of school entirely. You are already helping to prevent this through your child sponsorship. Your monthly donation helps make up the lack in many of these areas. FH staff are working to help communities see the value in education and lead them to make it a priority. Still, your encouragement will be priceless to your sponsored child. It will help remind them believe in themselves to see that you believe in them. Your words could help them value education even more, and inspire hope that they can achieve their dreams!
A girl from Bangladesh smiles at the camera. You will make your sponsored child smile when they see how much you want to know about them and their life.
Show them you’re interested in them by asking questions.
Asking your sponsored child questions will help them to see that you truly want to know them better. Ask them about what their parents do for work, or what their best friend’s name is. If they told you their favorite class is history, ask a follow up question like, “what is the best history story you’ve heard in school?” You can ask them if they own any animals or what they like to eat. You can ask about their favorite holiday or about their family. This is an opportunity for you to bond with your sponsored child by learning more about them, their community, and their culture.
Sponsored children feel so happy when they feel loved by their sponsors!
Remind them you care deeply for them.
As you’re closing out your letter, you can end with a reminder of your love. Remind your sponsored child they are special, loved, and full of potential. Tell them you care about them and that’s why you’re their sponsor. You could tell them you are praying for them and that you believe in them. This will send a strong message to your child that you truly do care for them.
A girl in Ethiopia colors a coloring page. Photo by: Esther Havens.
BONUS: Send a gift!
Did you know you can include small gifts with your child sponsorship letters? They must be able to lie flat but that restriction still leaves a lot of freedom! You can send items such as postcards, stickers, bookmarks, paper dolls, paper puzzles, scrapbook items, and stationery. One of my favorite ideas for all ages is coloring book pages. Simply download a free coloring page from Crayola (they even have adult coloring pages if your sponsored child is an older teen) and print it out. Include it with your letter! These little gifts will show your sponsored child that you were really thinking about them and will give them another way to connect with you.
Hopefully, your brain is full of fun ideas to put in your next letter. Your child sponsorship is making a difference, and your letters add to the impact you’re making. Now, get out there and write some letters. You can also write a letter online and upload a picture using this link here. Or you can mail letters to:
Food for the Hungry
Attn: Child Sponsorship Department
1224 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, AZ 85034
(Include your child’s ID# on both the letter and the envelope)
We will combine your letters with other sponsor letters and forward them to our field offices. Many of the FH communities are in remote areas so please note that it can take a few months for mail to reach your sponsored child. Please also consider time for our staff to translate the response letter and send it back to you.
What will you write to your sponsored child about today?
Ending Poverty, Together: The “Nature” of Child Sponsorship
God’s Story: “How” Is More Important Than “What”
I Was A Child Sponsorship Skeptic