AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — According to the United States Postal Service, hundreds of thousands of letters to Santa Claus arrive at post offices across the country each year.
Operation Santa, a program by the USPS that is going nationwide for the first time, hopes to help the wishes in those letters come true.
“Operation Santa is a program that we started 108 years ago that provides a channel for people to be able to give back and to help children and families in need; to enable them to have a magical holiday where they might otherwise not with just writing one letter to Santa,” said Amarillo Postmaster, Landon Thornton.
Once the letters are received, people are encouraged to adopt a letter and shop for the recipient. This year, the letter adoption is online due to COVID-19.
“This program has the opportunity to reach more since you can essentially help others 100% without contact,” said Thornton. “COVID has created a lot more need this year, and we are seeing an increase in letters.”
The process starts with writing a letter. Thornton said to write legibly and to make sure children include the details of what they are asking for, like sizes for clothing. He said this is where help from a parent comes in.
The return address also needs to be included on the child’s letter.
Once the letter is complete, the most crucial step comes in: properly addressing the letter.
“They need to send a letter to Santa Claus at 123 Elf Road in the North Pole; zip code 88888,” said Thornton. And they need to make sure that that address is in the middle of the envelope with their return address in the top left corner and the postage in the top right.
Once the letter is received, it will be uploaded to the Operation Santa website for adoption.
How does letter adoption work?
- Go to the Operation Santa website.
- Read through the letters and adopt one you like.
- Shop for the perfect gift.
- Wrap and pack your gift. (See the USPS shipping guidelines here.)
- Take the gift and postage to a participating post office for shipping.
- Don’t forget to keep it anonymous, it is from Santa after all.
Letter adoption opes Friday, Dec. 4. USPS said letters received before Dec. 15 will be uploaded and made available for adoption, though the sooner your letter is received, the more likely it is to be answered.
Thornton said the program is needed more than ever this year.
“COVID-19 has resulted in job losses, temporary unemployment. And sadly, the loss of family and friends. Couple that with the devastation that we have seen in parts of the country from natural disasters, and it’s easy to see why the USPS Operation Santa program is more important this year than ever,” said Thornton.
For more information on the program, click here.
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