Sending a care package of favourite foods and gifts from home is a great way to show your love and support to overseas workers, especially the children. Beware, many cross-cultural workers will tell you that they are very content, but showing them that you care (on their birthday or seasonal celebration, or ‘just because’) is a huge encouragement!
Here are some ideas for preparing a care package for families with young children that you can put together individually or as a church group:
- Snacks or sweets popular in their home country (think Cadbury or Haribo)
- Seeds of fruits or vegetables they can grow
- Cookie cutters/cupcake decorations (for Easter or Christmas etc)
A personal touch
- Hand-written card/letters/artwork/photos from people they know
- Family photobook or calendar with images of home/familiar faces
- Souvenirs from their hometown or favourite sports team (to show friends)
- Organise a gift of local lessons for skills or social groups
- Subscription for online magazine or educational website
- Kindle or leisure books (Book Depository does free international postage)
- Educational books or resources (handwriting, phonics or flashcards)
Toys and games
- Travel camera to record their experiences
- Sporting equipment (eg. ball and pump)
- Musical instruments
- Small card games (Uno, travel Monopoly, Top Trump cards, Dobble etc)
- USB/DVDs (check region) of favourite movies/tv shows or worship CDs / links to good songs
- Cuddly or musical toys (remove batteries)
Some practical things to bear in mind
- You can ask what they would like – it’s always great to receive things that they truly want.
- Check their shipping address as it may need to be written in the local language or sent to a post box in a neighbouring country.
- If it is a seasonal or birthday gift, send items early as shipping times can be delayed.
- Find out what items are allowed in their country before purchasing gifts.
- Check if there will be a tax or duty cost to your missionary for their package.
- Bear in mind that the items sent may may be examined during transit and may not arrive.
You may find that sending the items in smaller packages may be cheaper than sending one big one. For some places, you may be able to order items from retailers in that country, and have it delivered directly. If it’s not possible to send a package, see if you can send a digital gift voucher for a local shop, restaurant or day out. Remember, no matter how great or small the package is, the message received is that they are loved, cared for and not forgotten.