A palanca letter is written by writing a note to someone with words of encouragement, love, praise and spirituality. Palanca is Spanish for "lift" or "to rise" and denotes a lever used to lift and move heavy things.
The word "palanca" is used to describe the palanca letter, which is written in the hope of raising the spirits or lifting the spirits of the person that receives the letter. Palanca can be personal, but often palanca letters are written for recipients who do not know the letter writer. The letters are often sent to people on retreats or in prison as a way to lift them up in the spirit of the Lord (palanca letters are typically religious and spiritual in nature). It is also recommended that letter writers add reassurance that God is there for the person and to add that the letter writer is praying for the person. When written for a stranger, the letter writer should not include any personal details such as their full name, address or phone number.
While not every palanca letter will include gifts, small gift items are sometimes included. These items must be small and not of great financial value. Examples of small items would be small bookmarks, small pins, small quote cards or small bible verse cards. Bible verses can also be written into the palanca letter itself.