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Wish list assists

USPS helps kids write to Santa

Rachel Torres, a Sand Island, HI, acting customer services supervisor, helps children complete letters to the USPS Operation Santa program at a recent community event.

As anyone who has ever intended to write a thank-you note or birthday card knows, the spirit may be willing but the follow-through can be weak.

And so it is with USPS Operation Santa — children may be bursting with wishes, but a helping hand or gentle nudge may be needed to get those wishes where they need to go. And that’s exactly what the Postal Service was offering at some recent letter-writing events.

On Guide Dogs for the Blind’s campus in San Rafael, CA, families in the K9 Buddy Program gathered to help visually impaired children with their wish lists.

Tables were set up with Braille typewriters for the children’s use, after which parents or guardians would translate the dotted code into a letter ready to be uploaded for adoption.

Kristina Uppal, a USPS acting communications specialist, was “lead elf” for the event, which was followed by letter-writing sessions at the Hayward Fire Department and the Ecumenical Hunger Program in Palo Alto.

“You could feel a sense of hope and appreciation at each single event,” Uppal said. “The children were sweet and gracious.

“I even had to encourage some children to think of more than one thing” to wish for, she said. “They were so appreciative to just be there that they did not want to write down too many things.”

Through USPS Operation Santa, generous people “adopt” letters to help Santa Claus grant holiday wishes for people experiencing hardship. The Postal Service’s community events helped countless families meet the Dec. 10 deadline to submit letters.

In Honolulu, about 100 children living at Kalauiki Village, a community for formerly homeless families, got help writing letters from postal workers such as Lamar McColor, a letter carrier whose route includes the community.

McColor told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper that he volunteered to give the children “a glimmer of hope.”

“These families have been through a lot,” he said.

Uppal underscored that the events “are team efforts.”

Without community partnerships, “we don’t have the same reach to those children who really need a magical lift” for the holidays, Uppal said. “We welcome that collaboration in making these events come to life.”

Generous people can adopt letters through Dec. 22. Go to the USPS Operation Santa website for more information.