Press Room

— News Release  —
For artwork, see link at bottom.  

You can adopt real letters to Santa written by needy children at post offices

The US Postal Service® is distributing low income children’s Santa letters in 15 major cities. is the best resource online to learn where and how to participate in the USPS® Operation Santa program.


LOS ANGELES, Calif – Dec 5, 2016 -Starting at 11am on December 6th in New York City and Los Angeles, the USPS Operation Santa program will begin offering to 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. The Postal Service is offering the letters in 15 major cities this year.

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 may be picked up 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. 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. 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. 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.

Mr. Reynolds will be present at the Los Angeles press kickoff and available for interviews. His bio is at His past news interviews about Be An Elf and the USPS program are at the bottom of But simply mentioning will empower the public to easily learn where to participate.


Los Angeles

11am, December 6

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

New York City

11am, December 6

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

All other cities:

Please see Be An Elf’s national list of participating Operation Santa branches: 

Be An Elf contacts:

Marc Kruskol

MJK Public Relations
(661)538-1789 (For reporters only)

Patrick Reynolds, Chief Elf
Be An Elf
(310) 880-1111 Cell (For reporters only) SOCIAL MEDIA


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

Westwood One Radio News, Two 40 second national radio segments, December 10, 2015 (Click here for video)

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 “for more information,” and put up a title of the web address on screen – December 9, 2012


BeAnElf offers downloadable high resolution photos and children’s letters


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