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Making spirits bright

Program continues to aid those in need

Local schoolchildren participate in an Operation Santa letter-writing workshop at the Lomita, CA, Post Office last week.

Postal Service employees nationwide are supporting Operation Santa, the annual program that allows families in need to write letters to Santa Claus for “adoption” by those who want to help.

Families in participating cities can mail their letters to Santa’s official address at 123 Elf Road, North Pole 88888, through Friday, Dec. 20, the deadline for this year’s program.

There are three versions of Operation Santa, including a digital program, where letters are posted online for adoption, and a legacy program in Chicago and New York City where letters can be adopted in person.

The Operation Santa website has complete instructions.

Hundreds of letters have already been adopted in the Big Apple, including many from customers who participate in the program annually.

“It’s a tradition for them,” said Customer Relations Coordinator Gail Branham, who serves as “chief elf” at the James A. Farley Post Office. “It’s a part of how they celebrate their holidays.”

Many letters tug at the heartstrings.

“Some kids have asked for a job for their mom,” said Brenda Williams, a seasonal employee who is helping customers review and adopt letters in New York. “One letter just asked for a Christmas dinner — that’s all they wanted. That one really touched my heart.”

USPS is promoting the program through events in participating cities, including recent letter-writing workshops at the National Postal Museum in Washington, DC; the Grand Rapids, MI, Main Post Office; and the Lomita, CA, Post Office.

“We reached out to inner city schools where many underprivileged children attend, as well as other nearby communities to promote the event,” said Greater Michigan District Manager Krista Finazzo, adding that nearly 200 kids wrote letters at the Grand Rapids event.

Cleveland Beckett, a Bronx, NY, resident, adopts letters each year with members of his church.

“It’s how you can bring happiness to kids, because they should feel joy — especially at Christmas,” he said.

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