Are you open to receiving care packages from the States? -yes. It’s actually a great way for us stay in touch with you. A kid’s sunday school class sent us hand made cards last month, and our group drew a card to send them in return with a group photo and Bible verse. We love quick or creative baking ingredients that help us cater choir events or that we can carry-in to church gatherings. Everyone knows America is the queen of quick and creative baking!
What, if any, logistical/regulatory/legal/economic issues should we keep in mind as we construct and ship these care packages? France is easy. We don’t have to pay to pick up our packages so whatever you pay to send it covers all of the shipping and customs costs. We recommend if you are organizing a drive in your church that you have each family donate one food item and a five dollar bill toward shipping. Usually the shipping costs more than the retail value in America – that doesn’t mean it’s not cheaper than what we would pay to track it down and buy it here (usually we just go without). Remember the goal is to build communication, bond, and have fun!
Based on your harvest location and your current needs/desires, what would your dream care-package consist of? It’s easy enough to live without American goodies but it’s true that there are definitely certain comfort foods that make us smile. Jelly Bellies Jelly Beans, Grape Jelly, Girl Scout Thin Mints, Angel Food cake mix, Oreos, Instant Oreo cheese cake mixes, Cinnamon Bears Gummy Candy, Television shows on DVD, Hershey’s Kisses (to make peanut butter cookies), iTunes gift cards, at Christmas I love my great aunt’s home-made hard-tack, around Easter I love the jelly beans that taste like skittles and starbursts and around Valentines day I love those bright red chewy heart ju-ju things that are in the picture above. 😉
What are some things that we should avoid shipping to you? You are not allowed to mail anything explosive, so avoid nail polish, perfume and the like. There are some American classics that we can now find in the big city of Paris so, for example, we really don’t need peanut butter and nestle’s morsels. That might seem weird after asking for Hershey’s kisses, but I chop up a bar of dark chocolate here and it makes great chips (chunks really) for chocolate chip cookies. But it’s hard to wedge a chunk of chocolate bar on a peanut butter cookie to make Mom’s peanut butter kisses – you gotta have the kisses!
Other advice on mailing packages? Registered packages take longer this extra hassle is not usually necessary. Always write GIFT on the customs form. You can fill out the customs form online from home if that is more convenient for you. Anything liquid or cream I would seal in a ziplock bag before putting it in a care package.