Christmas present contributions

Dear Family,

I am currently sitting in my classroom in sunny Lome, Togo after releasing my 4th and 5th grade combined class for the day. I am currently working at an international school called Arc-en-Ciel (Google Arc-en-Ciel Lome, Togo, they have a nice website). It may not seem like it as it is only just turning to fall but Christmas is less than three months away (even harder for me to believe because it is currently 85 degrees outside). For Christmas this year I am writing to request that I receive no packages or gifts sent to Togo. Instead what I really need are contributions towards travel home to spend the holiday season with everyone.

I currently do not have the funds to travel home for the holidays without significantly depleting my bank account. After being in the Peace Corps for one and a half years and now moving back to Togo, renting and furnishing an apartment and waiting for four months to start my new job; what I really need as a gift is a contribution that helps allow me to celebrate my first holiday season with family and friends since 2015.

The plan would be for my partner, Meta, and me to spend a week in upstate New York visiting my family and a week in Texas visiting Meta’s family. Right now, from conversations I’ve had with my parents, it seems that Meta and I being in New York December 23rd to December 29th is a likely scenario but the exact dates are still not set in stone.

I understand many people don’t like giving money as gifts but in this instance, what I need most as a gift is a contribution from family to help me be there to celebrate the holidays. I am currently living in Lome, the capital city, so I really have access to almost all amenities. So instead of packages or gifts, that are expensive to ship, I would be much happier if that money was used to help us spend the season together.

I have created a GoFund me account as it is an easy to send money and keep everything organized. I am asking however that this GoFund me remains private and is not shared on any social media platform. I am not looking to crowd source money for this trip, just close friends and family

I hope everyone is doing well and I miss and love you all,




  • Mary Mende 
    • $500 
    • 35 mos
  • Mark & Abbi Stanley 
    • $100 
    • 35 mos
  • Mark & Abbi Stanley 
    • $5 
    • 35 mos
  • richard stanley 
    • $100 
    • 35 mos
  • Christine Stanley 
    • $100 
    • 36 mos
See all


Eric Mende 
Canton, NY
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more