— News Release —
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PUBLIC MAY ADOPT REAL LETTERS TO SANTA WRITTEN BY NEEDY KIDS AT SELECT POST OFFICES
The US Postal Service® is distributing low income children’s Santa letters in 15 major cities. BeAnElf.org is the best online resource to learn where and how to participate in the USPS® Operation Santa program.
LOS ANGELES, Calif – July 1, 2017 – Starting in early December the USPS Operation Santa program will again begin offering the public letters to Santa written by low income children. Christmas volunteers may adopt a child’s letter to Santa and mail gifts directly to the child who wrote him. Last Christmas the Postal Service offered the letters in 15 major cities in December, 2016.
Children writing to Santa sometimes include on their toy lists requests for “a warm coat”, “new shoes,” or “food, because we don’t have a lot of money.” Volunteers from the public select the saddest letters, and later mail their gifts directly to the child or family who needs a brighter Christmas.
The US Postal Service has made the children’s letters available every December since 1912. In 2016, the letters to Santa were made available to the public at a single postal branch in each of the following 15 cities: Los Angeles, New York, Newark, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Clarita CA and Santa Ana CA. Each branch sets its own schedule for the program.
BeAnElf.org is a tax-exempt charity and website founded by Patrick Reynolds in 2004 to support the USPS Operation Santa program. Mr. Reynolds is the grandson of tobacco company founder RJ Reynolds who became a well known anti-smoking advocate, following his father’s death from smoking. Be An Elf, while not affiliated with the USPS program, creates public awareness of it, offers the public ready access to a national list of participating postal branches, recruits hundreds of new volunteers for the program every year, and offers the public tips for volunteering and alternative ways to volunteer when there is no Operation Santa branch in their city.
“Some Operation Santa volunteers feel alone and sad over the holidays, and find comfort and inspiration volunteering for this program. Others have families and bring their kids to teach them the meaning of Christmas,” says Patrick Reynolds, Chief Elf at Be An Elf.
BeAnElf.org suggests gifts like backpacks, school supplies, new clothes, books, and a small gift for the mothers, whom the site says are sometimes living below the poverty line, and feeling sad over the holidays. The site notes that some moms also write to Santa, listing their children’s clothing and shoe sizes. The site suggests adopting additional letters and mailing families gift cards from Target or CostCo, and let the Moms do the shopping for their families.
BeAnElf.org recommends giving a holiday party at which friends are asked to bring gifts. The site suggests they wrap them together and share the cost, the work and the fun. Companies may adopt multiple letters to Santa, and distribute them to interested employees.
Links to videos of Mr. Reynolds’ past TV news interviews about the USPS program are at the bottom of this page. A simple mention of BeAnElf.org “for more information” will empower the public to easily learn where and how to participate.
WHERE AND WHEN
Below is the 2016 schedule. We update it at the beginning of December each year, as soon as the USPS makes the list of participating branches available to the public.
11am to 1pm, December 6, 2016
Los Angeles District Office
7001 South Central Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90051
Letters will be in the building at the North end of the large parking lot.
Children’s letters will be available for adoption at this branch on December 6, 8, 13 and 15th only.
New York City
11am, December 6, 2016
James A. Farley Post Office
421 8th Ave
New York, NY 10199
Children’s letters will be available for adoption at this branch:
Monday – Saturday, December 6th – December 23rd
9am – 4pm
Thursdays till 7pm
Last day to adopt, December 23rd
Last day to drop off gifts for mailing: January 6th
For a list of other cities:
Please see Be An Elf’s national list of participating Operation Santa branches: BeAnElf.org/locations/
Be An Elf contacts:
MJK Public Relations
(661)538-1789 (For reporters only)
Patrick Reynolds, Chief Elf
Be An Elf
(310) 880-1111 Cell (For reporters only)
BeAnElf.org SOCIAL MEDIA
VIDEOS of past news interviews
Fox News Channel Story with Be An Elf’s Chief Elf, Patrick Reynolds, December 5, 2011
MSNBC News Segment with Be An Elf’s Chief Elf, Patrick Reynolds, December 4, 2011
Fox News Segment December 15, 2013
NBC Today Show At end of a filmed story on the USPS Operation Santa program, the anchors mentioned our website BeAnElf.org “for more information,” and put up a title of the web address on screen – December 9, 2012
IMAGES AND ART
BeAnElf offers downloadable high resolution photos and children’s letters.
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