How can I give a newly immigrated Mexican boy something without offending?

A first generation immigrant Mexican family has moved into my neighborhood. Mom and Dad speak almost no English, and their 12 year old son speaks very little. Their financial situation doesn’t allow for things like bookbags for the kids or a coat for Mom. My family has so much extra stuff, including coats never worn and bookbags never carried. I take their kids to school everyday with all the other kids I take, and Mom makes us homemade tamales. They are a lovely family, and even though we have a language barrier, we’ve managed to find ways to communicate and I don’t want to damage this new relationship between our families. How can I give them things without offending them? I’m sure their Mexican Pride is just as great as my Southern Pride and I’d rather give people I know things they can use rather than just take them to the Sally. Any help? Thanks.
This family is here LEGALLY, and it wouldn’t matter to me either way. AND if you’re gonna be mean, just move on without answering.


  1. Write a letter, and find someone to translate it for you. You can express your heartfelt impressions and intentions, and to the reader it’ll be like a letter from long lost friends. Most Mexicans (parents w/kids) I’ve met who don’t know our language (or culture, ways) are humble and timid. They don’t want to impose, and they’ve been generous in spite of their material need. The sharing and receiving you’ve done is the beginning of friendship, keep up the good work.
    Neat, huh?

  2. Just give it to him. I don’t think you need to worry about their pride. In the town I live in, if someone is giving away something for free, they are first in line.

  3. Give him a small thing first, like a pen or pencilbox and go with him back home, meet their parents and exchange pleasantaries, and tell them you really like their family, want to keep friends and that as a memento, given this small appreciation. Next time, do it with the bag and keep up the same air.

  4. Gather all your exra old jackets and backpacks and stuff, put them in a giant plastic bag, and give it to them. Tell them "Mis Viejos" (my old stuff), and they’ll understand. They won’t get offended the least bit, trust me. They’ll just be grateful that you gave them some stuff.

  5. A cat person? perhaps you should give one of your cats to mycatsdead. It might make him less grumpy(mean). You can’t It would offen a lot of people in Y!A. THere are a lot of anti-immigrants here, if you didn’t notices. I’m not sure who’s mom made the Tamales, but if Their family makes a jesture, its the best time to return a favor. You know, they offer food, you do them a favor by offering spare bookbags. Perhaps have their kids come over to do some choirs and give him stuff as compensation. The choir is not as important since its the pretense to make an offer to their family. You have to wing it, on whats appropriate, because none of us knows this family and its hard to gauge what they consider appropriate.

  6. I’d say if you have a relationship with them, they should be more willing to accept things from you.

    Or you could leave the items on their doorstep anonymously, so they can’t give them back.

  7. Give to the parents. Working in Migrant Even Start for several years I am very familiar with this situation, The children often learn English right away and must translate for their parents very adult things, like talking to a doctor, a lawyer, landlord, utility company etc. The boy is 12 give stuff to the parents, they will not be offended if you are being kind and generous. They will be offended if you say something like -I noticed how poor you are so here’s some stuff. Treat it like a house warming, like you would do this for any new neighbor.


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