Looking for your favorite letter/penpal organizations
November 6, 2018 12:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm getting more into cursive handwriting and want to write letters for fun and handwriting practice. What are some good organizations/ways to find some letter recipients?

I currently have a penpal through LWA (Letter Writers Alliance), which I really enjoy. I also sometimes send out postcards through Postcrossing, though the messages on the postcards are usually short and somewhat generic, as well as written in print since I'm worried about non-native English speakers not being able to read cursive.

I'm looking for some more ideas of where to find penpals/people to write letters to. Does anyone have any organizations/groups that have worked out well for finding letter buddies, either one-offs or regular penpals? Has anyone done something like moreloveletters.com, or a volunteer program that involves sending books plus letters (to schoolkids, prisoners, etc.)?
posted by efio to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
If you're not averse to reddit, there's /r/penpals, and, because that attracts mostly younger posters, /r/penpalsover30: the latter has worked well for me (as has LWA).
posted by misteraitch at 1:37 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Letter Exchange sounds like something that you might enjoy. Its been around since 1982 and still going.
posted by ralan at 1:41 PM on November 6, 2018

There are a lot of organizations looking for people to write letters to folks in prison.
posted by bile and syntax at 2:12 PM on November 6, 2018

I've had good luck with sendsomething.net
posted by darchildre at 2:32 PM on November 6, 2018 [1 favorite]

This is imprecise but Instagram. Look for hashtags related to pen pals, letters, mail etc... Lots of people doing this as a hobby run blogs and mail swaps and post mail pics and details on their instagram. I found and participated in several mail swaps this way! If you need help MeMail me and I can look for some specifics for you.
posted by jrobin276 at 3:09 PM on November 6, 2018

Writing to prisoners is very rewarding. Many are excellent correspondents given limited social and entertainment options. You can find a pen pal through Solitary Watch and they will act as an intermediary so you don't share your address. I have a PO box too and found several pen pals through the websites set up for this. Google, "prison pen pal".

In my first letters I always make clear I'm not looking for a relationship or romantic connection, as that's what a lot of people are looking for. Everyone has been totally understanding of that.
posted by latkes at 5:30 PM on November 6, 2018

Another idea: I've made a practice of writing real letters of appreciation to authors and podcast creators I've appreciated. It's a way for me to appreciate the good in this terrible world right now.
posted by latkes at 5:33 PM on November 6, 2018

I correspond with a prisoner in solitary and I can say that it has impacted me deeply. it is so meaningful and that human connection is very rich. I believe I also did this thru Solitary Watch or Voices from Solitary.

I also do sort of my own penpal thing where I rotate going through my own friends who live far away and write them letters just to say I miss them.
posted by fairlynearlyready at 7:42 PM on November 6, 2018

Check out the League of Extraordinary PenPals! So many lovely folks, and geeking out about cursive and handwriting is definitely part of the fun.
posted by kittyb at 8:02 AM on November 7, 2018

Have you signed up for metafilter's own card club? People are exchanging cards and letters every month and i'm always up for a pen pal as well so feel free to contact me if you don't end up finding something better.
posted by kanata at 10:16 AM on November 7, 2018

You can also find penpals on the Postcrossing forums - here is the relevant one.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 11:19 AM on November 7, 2018

Hope this is not too late but if you are into fiber arts, there are always tons of gift exchanges/swaps/snail mail going on at Ravelry groups and I myself have sent quite a lot of stuff and postcards to total strangers.

Do you have a hobby you are active in? Does it have an online community? I know fragrance forums like Basenotes are constantly swapping perfume samples with one another though I don't know if you are into perfumes.
posted by whitelotus at 12:10 AM on November 9, 2018

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