updated 12/27/2010 AT 2:45 PM ET
•originally published 12/27/2010 AT 2:55 PM ET
Madonna wasn’t able to visit Malawi this Christmas, but she let the children in the six orphanages she funds there know they were very much on her mind this holiday season.
Boxes of toys, chocolate, other sweets and clothes were shipped with a handwritten note from the star, which read, “To my Malawi children on Christmas and Boxing Day. I wish I was with you. See you soon M.”
Inside the goodie boxes were miniature Christmas cards signed by Madonna, Lourdes and Rocco.
“How so sweet this woman is!” said Lucy Chipeta, director of Home of Hope Orphanage in Mchinji, where Madonna adopted son David in 2006, as more than 500 children scrambled for toys and bars of chocolate.
Near another orphanage, Consol Homes, more than 1,000 people from surrounding villages were invited to an open-air party. All the orphans and under-privileged children who registered with the center received clothes.
“Madonna says she always enjoys the traditional dances the villagers perform for her when she visits,” said Yacinta Chapomba, director of Consol Homes. “She asked us to invite as many villagers as possible for the Christmas party.”
The singer planned to return to Malawi in November alongside U2 singer Bono, but the trip, according to sources, was rescheduled for the spring.