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Operation Santa to Help Thousands of Chicago-Area Kids

The U.S. Postal Service is helping answer thousands of Chicago-area kids' letters to Santa. (iStockphoto)
The U.S. Postal Service is helping answer thousands of Chicago-area kids' letters to Santa. (iStockphoto)
December 23, 2015

CHICAGO - Thousands of Chicago-area kids are getting some holiday help from the Chicago Post Office. Every year, a team of "postal elves" help out with Operation Santa by collecting children's letters and email messages to Santa.

Mark Reynolds, Chicago district spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, says then they make the letters publicly available so others can help fulfill those holiday wishes.

"We've got many customers, many families, many businesses and organizations who've made it part of their holiday tradition to come look through the letters and find those that touch their hearts and try to fulfill them," says Reynolds.

Last year, the Chicago Post Office received more than 10,000 letters to Santa. Reynolds expects the same this year, although only a little more than half of those letters are typically answered.

Still, Reynolds says this can be a great way to help get holiday gifts to children who might not otherwise receive them.

"We see everything from, 'Santa, send me an iPhone,' to the really heartfelt letters," says Reynolds. "'I'm writing on behalf of my grandma, she's working hard, I need clothes, I need shoes, we need just the basics to have a nice Christmas.'"

While the official deadline was Monday to help with Operation Santa donations, Reynolds says there's still a chance to sneak in some last-minute gifts.

"We'll be here for the rest of the week to accept the packages," says Reynolds. "So if anybody out there has a letter and hasn't finished shopping, we really need them to hurry up and finish and bring the package back so we can get it on its way."

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - IL