COMPANY CHRISTMAS CHARITY
A Christmas charity employees can volunteer for in teams, and adopt needy families for the holidays
(c) 2020 by Patrick Reynolds & Be An Elf
Our plan calls for live gatherings of employees, but may also be adapted to use Zoom meetings.
The USPS Operation Santa ® program is now fully online, making access easier.
Here is Be An Elf’s plan for an organizer at your company to enlist and manage a group of employees to volunteer for the USPS Operation Santa ® program during the holidays. For a brief overview, please check out our Home page, BeAnElf.org. Our site is a great guide to the program.
In 2021 the website USPSoperationsanta.com will open for registration by the public on November 15. Identity verification is short and simple and protects children. On November 29, the site will open to any volunteers from the public who wish to adopt a letter to Santa from a low-income child or family. Packages must be mailed by December 10th, 2021.
The total number of employees who participate in your company could range from three to hundreds around the nation. The plan which follows provides a clear path for organizing your company’s volunteers, whether it’s a small group or a very large one. We’re pleased to offer the below checklist of to-do’s for the person at your company who recruits and organizes volunteers.
If you have a large group and your executives want to bring in an outside expert, our Executive Director Patrick Reynolds can work with you by phone or fly in to speak and meet with employees. He’d be pleased to consult regarding the implementation of this program at your company.
Another option is for your company to become a sponsor of Be An Elf, to help us grow and expand our outreach. Our needs include hiring a public relations firm; if we can recruit a movie star to adopt letters, this would likely result in news coverage by People, Access Hollywood, and other entertainment outlets.
We’d also like to send this plan to corporate Human Resource Directors. This is the first highly detailed plan to be offered to corporations, outlining how their employees may be organized to volunteer for the great, time-honored USPS program. We think this Plan for Companies is a good story for business news outlets like the Wall Street Journal, financial news cable networks, and more. We only lack a good public relations firm.
First, be sure to get this program approved by your manager. Let them know employees can choose to donate their time, contribute to the employee fund for this project, or both. There is no minimum donation, and we think the amount they give should not be visible to other employees.
To facilitate your efforts, we have provided you with a DRAFT of a Message to your boss, toward the bottom of this page. If your boss approves, we have also provided you with a DRAFT of a message to employees from the organizer. Both are at bottom.
We suggest appointing two volunteer co-treasurers at your company to collect all the funds from employees, perhaps using Venmo, Zelle or personal check. All funds must be collected before shopping for gifts can begin; this can be announced at the first employee meeting, or by email, ideally shortly before Thanksgiving.
Funds raised could be supplemented by a matching gift from your company, if executives agree. Ask them!
Employees who wish to volunteer time can sign up for three to ten hours, depending on which tasks they choose to sign up for. For the complete list of tasks, scroll down to Our plan for your company below.
Gifts to Be An Elf are tax-deductible since we are a 501c3 non-profit group. Funds employees raise in a pool will not be tax-deductible, but in our experience, most of them will not mind. Their donations will be used for gifts they purchase, which they will mail directly to the needy families who wrote to Santa.
Every December there are thousands of worthy letters up for adoption at each participating branch. We recommend you budget about $100 for every letter you answer, so it’s not likely you will raise too much money. At that rate, to buy gifts for 100 families, you would need to raise $10,000!
Be An Elf is proud of our success in recruiting and training volunteers for the wonderful USPS Operation Santa program. Before we present our plan for companies, I’ll share a bit of background about us.
About Be An Elf
Be An Elf is a 501c3, tax-exempt group based in Los Angeles, founded in 2004 by Patrick Reynolds, pictured above. His initial goal was to increase public awareness of the USPS Operation Santa program, to let the public know it existed, and make it easy to find out how and where to volunteer for it. We’ve expanded considerably since then, and we remain volunteer-driven.
We offer significant support to the USPS Operation Santa program by recruiting hundreds of volunteers for it every year. Our website offers an excellent guide to the program. We offer savvy tips for volunteering effectively, and our group adopts many letters to Santa ourselves. Based on total donations we receive every Christmas season, we send each family a Target gift card for $75 to $100 each.
In 2008, Google Grants began giving us an in-kind grant of $10,000 per month in free advertising, and this has created tremendous visibility on the web for us. When people type in search terms like “volunteer at Christmas,” they learn about our group and the USPS program.
Because of this, and our strong organic SEO rankings in most search engines, we are able to recruit many volunteers each year for the USPS program. An informal poll suggested that a significant number of volunteers first heard of the program through Be An Elf.donations we receive go toward sending Target gift cards to families, which will enable them to have a brighter Christmas. We do have some overhead, and we need cash donations to fund those costs, such as our website, support for our social media campaigns, much needed SEO work, and public relations fees.
Patrick Reynolds, also runs a second charity year round, the Foundation for a Tobaccofree World; its website is Tobaccofree.org. His bio shows he’s well known in the tobacco prevention and cessation field, with a new emphasis on vaping and e-cigarettes.
Mr. Reynolds would be pleased to fly in to speak to employees about volunteering for the USPS Operation Santa program. His talk at your company would prepare employees to volunteer. He’s a polished speaker and gives talks professionally year round at universities and community groups for his other non-profit. See www.Tobaccofree.org/Patrick/. He also offers corporations tobacco cessation talks.
Be An Elf is his other passion, and he would be pleased to consult and help customize and implement a plan for co-workers to participate in this great holiday program.
We invite you to share the Draft of a message to your boss below with your manager and other top executives there — perhaps even your company’s CEO, Communications and HR Directors. Let them know this is a wonderful opportunity for employees to volunteer over the holidays, and that it will bring Christmas spirit and a sense of community to all who participate.
Our plan for your company
What this program will do: Employees will build Christmas spirit, develop community and find comfort and inspiration volunteering together for this wonderful holiday program. But best of all, they’ll bring smiles to the faces of some needy children on Christmas morning.
In 2020, the USPS took their Operation Santa program online, and letters may be adopted nationwide from home. Gifts may be mailed at any of 19,000 postal branches in the US. To find the nearest postal branch that accepts packages donated for this program, and the key dates of its operation during the holiday season, go to Be An Elf’s Locations page.
We are pleased to offer Be An Elf’s plan to you, the organizer, to support you in enlisting and managing a group of employees to volunteer for the USPS Operation Santa program during the holiday season. For a brief overview, please check out our Home page, BeAnElf.org. Our site is a great guide to the program.
The total number of employees who participate could range from three up to hundreds around the nation. The plan which follows provides a clear path for organizing your company’s volunteers, whether it’s a large group or a very small one.
We’re pleased to offer the below checklist of to-do’s for the person at your company who organizes volunteers at your company.
If you have a larger group, and your executives want to bring in a consultant, our Executive Director Patrick Reynolds can work with you by phone, or fly in, meet with and speak to employees. He would be pleased to support the implementation of this program at your organization.
It’s not required, but if your company also becomes a sponsor of Be An Elf, it will help us grow and expand our outreach. Our needs include hiring a public relations firm to interest one or more movie stars in adopting letters. This would result in coverage by People, Access Hollywood, and other shows. We also have our webmaster, digital ad agency and our SEO firm to cover, and a few other basic expenses. The news coverage and mention of Be An Elf as a guide to the program will result in many more children’s letters being adopted.
We’d also like to publicize this plan to HR Directors at corporations, and to business news outlets like the Wall Street Journal and business news cable networks, but we lack funds. We feel it’s newsworthy because no one has ever offered companies a highly detailed plan like this one for companies to organize teams to volunteer for the time-honored USPS program.
Your employees who volunteer may opt to contribute either their time or money, or both for your company’s local campaign. Employees may decide how much to contribute, and the amount of their donations to the pool may be kept anonymous. If they want to contribute time, they can sign up for that as well.
Two volunteer co-treasurers at your company will collect all funds by the end of the first meeting, which should be held just before or after Thanksgiving.
Funds raised could be supplemented by a matching gift from your company, if executives agree. Ask them, and if you need to, first get this program approved by your manager.
To facilitate this, we have provided you with a DRAFT of a Message to your boss toward the bottom of this page.
Employees who wish to volunteer time can sign up for the tasks they choose to sign up for. For the complete list of tasks, scroll down to Our plan for your company below. The free forms at SignUpGenius.com would be a good way to help them organize into groups.
Gifts to Be An Elf are tax-deductible since we are a 501c3 non-profit group. Funds employees donate to a pool will not be tax-deductible, but in our experience, most of them will not mind. Their donations will be used for gifts they purchase, which they will mail directly to the needy families who wrote the letters.
Every December there are thousands of worthy letters up for adoption at each participating branch. We recommend you budget about $100 for every letter you answer, so it’s not likely you will raise too much money. At that rate, to buy gifts for 100 families, you would need to raise $10,000.
Each team should not adopt more than two or three letters! Trust us on this. Here’s why: The cost of adopting one letter can go as high as $50 per person in the family, and we recommend including the Moms on your shopping list. They are often single and sad over the holidays. Then if you adopt a whole family instead of a single child and one parent, the cost goes higher. Each team may want to limit its per-person cost of participating.
If other employees donate money but not time, however, the cost per team member may be reduced significantly.
To protect children’s privacy, the USPS redacts the children’s return addresses and family names from every letter to Santa, and replaces it with a barcoded address label, printed out together with each letter they adopt online. Keep them together!
Our Locations page will explain how to find the post office near you that can accept packages for mailing to families. This will also be explained when volunteers print out letters they wish to adopt at the website USPSOperationSanta.com.
Please let your company’s decision-maker know that Be An Elf’s Chief Elf Patrick Reynolds is available as a consultant to companies interested in having more personalized, hands-on assistance in implementing this program.
Your first email to employees
Your first step will be to send a message to your fellow employees, inviting them to volunteer for this program. We have done the leg work for you, and have written a first draft, found at the bottom of this page. Please tailor it to your group.
If you need permission to email others in your company, or if want to send it to a larger number of employees, use the Draft of a message to your boss. That one is halfway down this page. It’s a great way to approach your boss.
When you propose volunteering to your team in your initial email, we would suggest making it clear that their participation is optional. We think you will still do fine with recruiting.
In your first message, let employees know the minimum donation will be about $25 to $35 per volunteer. This will include the cost of the party and postage. At that level, you’ll need three or four volunteers to answer one letter. The more people participate, the more children’s letters to Santa can be answered.
Since there is no charity involved, these donations would not be tax-deductible. All funds must be collected by the first meeting.
If the company will match funds raised by employees, then double the number of letters to Santa can be adopted. Ask if your company will match funds contributed by employees.
Contributions must be delivered to the appointed co-Treasurers by the date of the first meeting.
If they also wish to volunteer their time, let them know their commitment can range from three to ten hours, depending on the shared tasks they sign up for. Let them know too that there will be a gift wrapping party for the final meeting, complete with egg nog and cookies.
Finally, set a date, place and time for the first meeting, and hold it near December 1st.
In our experience, allocating on average $100 to $130 per Santa letter answered is about right. The children often have siblings, and they mention them in their letters. Sometimes the Moms in need write on behalf of their children too small to write. We don’t want to leave out the siblings, and we advocate getting a small gift for the moms, like a scented candle or soap. Many are often single, living alone and sad over the holidays.
Again, employeed donations would not be tax-deductible, since there is no charity involved. Gifts to Be An Elf are tax-deductible; we send each family a Target gift card of $75 to $100, depending on how much money we raise. But the most rewarding way to volunteer is to read the children’s and Moms’ letters, answer them with gifts ‘from Santa’, and be a hands-on volunteer for the wonderful USPS program.
Select two Co-Treasurers
Before the first meeting, select two employees to be Co-Treasurers. Their job will be to jointly keep track of those who are volunteering, and to collect the money. The deadline to collect all the funds will be the during first meeting. This will determine the number of letters that will be answered.
Your second email to employees
Send a second email to all employees, and warmly welcome those who have expressed interest in volunteering over the holidays.
Invite all employees to a meeting to be held close to December 1, to hear more about the program, and to divide up the work to be done. Mention again that participation in this program is voluntary.
Remind them that the total time commitment for volunteers can be from three to ten hours, whatever they wish to sign up for. If the turnout is large, the leader could have them divide into teams of a dozen or so each during the meeting.
Mention in the email that the deadline for contributing the minimum gift of $25 to $35 will be during the meeting you are inviting them to.
Close by saying there will be a gift wrapping party for volunteers, complete with egg nog and cookies. Mention that if they can’t volunteer, no problem and you look forward to seeing them at the company Christmas party.
It would be helpful if employees have the option of viewing the first meeting online from home, especially if they work in different shifts.
The reason that the best date for the first meeting is around December 1st is, that is when the USPS announces the list of participating postal branches for the current season. Be An Elf’s list will be posted around the same time and mirror theirs, and will include each branch’s days and hours of operation, and package drop off dates and deadlines. These vary at each branch.
Agenda for your first meeting
Welcome those who attend, and tell them about the USPS Operation Santa program. Feel free to borrow from our website, BeAnElf.org and there is no requirement to credit us.
Tasks to sign up for
The other big item on the agenda would be to divide the chores. This can also be done by email, if you set up a sign-up form on Signupgenius.com, and of course it can be done at the meeting, the old fashioned way.
Here is a list of tasks people can sign up for.
- First, the co-treasurers should finish collecting all the funds — the total amount raised — by the end of the first meeting. The total funds raised will determine the number of Santa letters that can be adopted.
Do the math to determine a realistic number of letters to adopt. We think it should be two letters per team; if a team of six covers two letters and the total cost is $250, including shipping and wrapping, then each team member must contribute about $42.
We estimate the cost to properly answer each letter is about $100; this covers one child and a Mom. It’s more if you adopt a whole family, about $30 to $50 per person.
So it will be logistically necessary to know the total amount available by the end of the first meeting, as that will determine the total number of letters your company can adopt. Remember, to stay on schedule, the gift shopping will need to be done within a few days.
If someone pledges a larger gift, or if the company matches employees’ contributions, or all employees in the company are invited to contribute, then to be sure, more kids’ letters can be adopted.
- Sign up to go to the post office, to read and select letters to Santa for adoption. For some, the letter reading can be a moving experience, but for most, it’s a joyful one, especially when done with co-workers and friends. Set a date and time to read letters together, that coordinates with the Operation Santa schedule for the closest participating USPS branch. Again, the schedule will likely be the same as last year at most branches.
Three to ten volunteers are enough, but you can send more to read letters at the post office if desired, so don’t set a limit on the number of employees who sign up for letter reading. All are welcome to read the Santa letters; just stick to adopting the total number of letters that the final amount raised will permit, and not one letter more.
It varies, but in many participating branches, companies are permitted to adopt up to 100 letters. Remember, however, that using our guidelines, you’d need 300 volunteers to handle the adoption of 100 letters!
- Sign up to do the shopping for the gifts for the children and moms, and set a date for the shopping excursion. Make up to ten slots available. Your call! The co-treasurers should go, too. Remind them to save enough money for the postage and wrapping paper!
- Someone needs to shop for the food and drink for the gift wrapping party. Make three four slots available. With a pot-luck dinner form on www.signupgenius.com, you can also have people sign up to bring the wine, punch, various dishes, desserts, Christmas cookies, etc.
- The Gift Wrapping party. Set a date, and make sure it does not conflict with the company Christmas party! It’s your call, but we think it’s best to invite only for those who volunteered, and if there is room, their families. During the party, gifts for kids will need to be gift wrapped, and then put into a shipping box and wrapped for mailing, for each family’s letter you reply to.
At the meeting, if appropriate, offer to let an employee sign up to volunteer their home to hold the gift wrapping party in. This might work best if it’s under 30 people. In the age of Covid, a Zoom Meeting is next best. The gathering could also be held at the company with social distancing if no one wants to volunteer their home.
Make sure the gift wrapping party is scheduled before December 8th, since the last day to mail packages in time for delivery by Christmas is December 10. Since this year’s schedule has not been announced yet, you may wish to announce the date later.
- At the meeting, determine who will deliver gifts to the post office for mailing. They will need to be weighed and postage added.
- Check our Home page and Locations page for the key dates, and schedule your meeting around those. Send a follow-up email with the dates for all the tasks to be done, outlined above. No matter; get commitments and names at the meeting to do all the work. Tell them you will notify them of the dates. For example, find out the last day they will accept Operation Santa gifts for mailing in your city, and schedule your gift wrapping party before the last day.
Set dates for each task above; start before Thanksgiving
Remind the volunteers who signed up
At the first meeting or shortly thereafter, set a schedule for the tasks above. You’ll need to know the starting date for this year’s USPS Operation Santa; see the top of this page. www.USPSoperationsanta.com. Our page BeAnElf.org/locations/ will help you find a post office to mail gifts to families. Sadly the traditional walk-in program has been discontinued. New York City and Chicago last offered it in 2019.
OK! As the organizer, you have plenty to do. We’ve broken it all down into doable tasks and steps. Follow our plan. Tweak it as you wish, but if you follow this outline closely, we’re sure you will lead a successful program for all who wish to volunteer at your company.
This concludes our plan to have your company participate in USPS Operation Santa. We hope you’ll forward this url on to a high executive there, and let them know you’d like to offer this program to your team. Be sure to ask if they will match employees’ contributions, or send us your executive’s contact info, and we will be pleased to approach them directly.
If you are the person at your company organizing this program, please read the other pages at this site. They will familiarize you further with the USPS program, and will enable you to answer questions your employees may ask. Tell them to visit www.BeAnElf.org and especially this page.
Lastly, you can suggest to your Communications executive sending out a news release to encourage local (and national) media to cover the USPS Operation Santa program. We suggest mentioning your company’s involvement in it only at the end, and please mention BeAnElf.org as a good guide to the program for the public. The primary focus of your company’s news release should be to let the public know about the USPS program, and to encourage local media to cover the story. Feel free to borrow from our Press Room page releases, or view some good press release ideas there. Lest the USPS have a shortage of letters from kids in need, your release should also include a note that parents who are struggling for the holidays can write to Santa’s volunteers for help.
This very special Christmas charity is certain to bring real holiday spirit and a ton of Christmas cheer to employees who participate. Equally important, your employees will bring many smiles to all the children to whom they send extra gifts “from Santa”. Thank you for your interest, and for caring.
Below is the info to copy in to an email to the high level executives there. Be sure to ask if they will match funds emplopyees raise.
Draft of a message to your boss
proposing a charity for employees to volunteer for
I’m an employee here in the _____________ department. I’m writing because I’ve discovered a gem of a Christmas volunteer idea, and I want to give other employees the opportunity to volunteer for it, too. It would bring employees together and be a great team effort for our company for the holiday season. With your approval, I’d to put together a group of like-minded employees. The idea is to get gifts to needy kids in time for Christmas by adopting letters they wrote to Santa Claus from a new US Postal Service website. Our company’s team of volunteers can send gifts directly to the children who wrote each letter.
Employees who volunteer can participate in two ways: by contributing to an employee fund for this project, or by signing up to give from 2 to 10 hours of their free time during the first two weeks of December — or both. How much time an employee donates will depend on which tasks they sign up for; I will provide a list of tasks. Employees who do not have time to give will have an option to simply donate to our fund. The more we raise, the more needy letters to Sant we can adopt.
I am writing you to ask for your support in getting a message to other employees, perhaps even company-wide. There is a draft all ready to go, to give you an idea of the email I want to send out. It’s at the very bottom of the web page BeAnElf.org/Charity-for-Companies. Look for this headline: Draft of a message to all employees. If you reply and approve our sending a message similar to that, I will get right to work on it, or you can. Let me know. We do need to make a decision before Thanksgiving.
Again, the home page of BeAnElf.org offers a short presentation of the program I want our team to volunteer for as a company. Be An Elf offers a detailed game plan for companies wanting to send volunteers; it’s at BeAnElf.org/charity-for-companies.) Here’s a short description:
Every year since 1906, the US Postal Service’s ® Operation Santa program has distributed letters to Santa written by kids in need. Their letters often ask Santa only for a toy, Christmas dinner, clothes or basic necessities.
For the first two to three weeks of December, anyone from the public may read and adopt children’s letters to Santa at participating postal branches, mostly in large cities. Christmas volunteers adopt the letters that move them most, take them home, and later mail their gifts directly to the needy child or family.
There’s no middle man or charity when people participate in this way; it’s micro-philanthropy, direct from each volunteer to a child. Volunteers catch the true spirit of the holidays, and put smiles on the faces of underprivileged kids on Christmas morning. In most cities companies can adopt up to 100 letters, sometimes more with permission.
We will be contributing our own time and money, but I’m asking the company to match whatever funds we manage to raise. That way we could double the number of presents we send to needy kids. We will provide receipts for all our purchases.
Those who volunteer from our company will surprise some children in real need on Christmas morning with the gifts we send in the mail. Working together, our employees can make a difference.
When we know who is interested in volunteering, we’ll hold our first meeting; it’s best if it’s right after Thanksgiving. At the meeting, we will divide up the tasks; employees can sign up for whatever they like. One of these will be reading and selecting letters for “adoption” by our company. The closest branch to us is [name a branch listed at www.BeAnElf.org/Locations]. Note that the list of “Operation Santa” post offices is updated every year by the USPS ® around December 1, but the ones on the 2018 list are all likely to participate again.
I need to get an email out to our employees in November, and one repeat email before Thanksgiving, and a reminder right after Thanksgiving, on the day before our first meeting. After that o nly those who sign up will get emails. If we stick to that timeline, we will be on track to get the kids our gifts in time for Christmas.
We are doing this ourselves, with support from the website and charity, BeAnElf.org. Below is some brief info about them. I will be following their online plan for companies. If you wish, Be An Elf’s Executive Director Patrick Reynolds also offers consulting and support to companies.
At most of the participating USPS branches, companies may send a delegation of employees to read, select and adopt up to 100 letters. Be An Elf recommends budgeting about $100 per letter, so to adopt that many letters, we employees would need to raise about $10,000.
The deadline for contributing to our employee fund will be by our first meeting. I need to know how much our employees have raised by then, so that we will only adopt the number of letters we have funds for.
Some of our employees may feel alone and sad over the holidays, and find comfort and inspiration being part of this program. Others have families and can bring their kids, to teach them the meaning of Christmas. Children will be told that of course Santa’s volunteer helper elves always forward every letter on to Santa! We will mark all our gifts, “From Santa.”
Be An Elf is not affiliated with the US Postal Service® or its Operation Santa program, but supports the program by recruiting new volunteers and making it easy for the public to learn where and how to volunteer. The group also adopts its own letters with most of the donations that come in; contributions to Be An Elf are tax-deductible. Google Grants awarded the group a $10,000 per month in-kind grant for free advertising in 2004, and it remains in place.
Be An Elf also sends out a news release every year to create additional public awareness of the venerable USPS® program, and would be pleased to consult with the company Communications office about publicizing this locally. See their last news release in the Press room at the website; they feel the emphasis should be on covering the USPS program and creating public awareness of it, perhaps with a mention of Be An Elf as a good guide to volunteering for it. BeAnElf.org does offer excellent tips for volunteering.
The contributions by our employees to the little fund I am starting are not tax-deductible, but I dont think anyone will mind. Be An Elf is a tax-exempt 501c3 non-profit group, and it may be possible to work this out with them. You may contact Executive Director Patrick Reynolds, tel (310) 880-1111 or by sending him a message at https://beanelf.org/contact-us/.
Please share this message internally, and let me know if you will send a message I’ll draft to others at our company. Most employees might not have time to volunteer, but may wish to contribute to our fund. Some will do both.
I will organize it, and would welcome your support. Until two Co-Treasurers are named, I will collect the funds, unless someone in your office has time to do that.
Those who contributed time or funds will be invited for Christmas cheer and a gift wrapping party around the second or third week of December. We’ll enjoy a little holiday cheer, too. It’s your call, but my vote is to keep this separate from the larger company Christmas party.
I feel this would be a fun and inspiring project for employees who volunteer, and I hope the company will support this.
Not least, please forward this email up the ladder internally, and maybe we’ll get support from the highest levels. It never hurts to ask! Please send it on to our Directors of HR, Communications and to our CEO.
Please let me know if you will join me.
[Your name and contact info.]
See our DRAFT of a message to send employees, below.
Draft of a message to employees from the organizer
First use our draft of a letter to your boss, above, to get permission to email employees at your company. Maybe they will allow you to email all employees — but if it’s a large company, you will need help from management to organize this.
Below is a draft of what you might send to employees once you get permission.
I’m an employee here in the _____________ department, writing you about a teriffic Christmas volunteer idea. A group or groups of us can go to a certain local post office and read actual letters to Santa written by some very needy kids. The post office gives them out every year. We will take home the ones that move us most, and then send our presents directly to the children or families who wrote the letters.
I’m inviting you to join me and other employees, and donate two to ten hours to this, whatever you can, during the first two weeks of December. If you can’t volunteer your time, you can still join us by contributing whatever you can to our employee fund for presents.
Everyone who gives time or money will be invited for some holiday cheer at our gift wrapping party the second or third week of December. There is no minimum donation.
Every year since 1906, the US Postal Service’s ® Operation Santa program has distributed letters to Santa written by kids in need. Their letters often ask Santa only for a toy, Christmas dinner, clothes or basic necessities.
For the first two to three weeks of December, anyone from the public may read and adopt children’s letters to Santa at participating postal branches, mostly in large cities. Christmas volunteers can adopt the letters that move them most, take them home, and later mail their gifts directly to the needy child or family.
There’s no middle man or charity when people participate in this way; it’s micro-philanthropy, direct from each volunteer to a child.
Join us and you’ll catch the true spirit of the holidays. We’ll have a little fun and community time together, and we’ll put smiles on the faces of underprivileged kids on Christmas morning.
Individuals may adopt up to ten letters, but in most cities, companies can adopt up to 100 letters, and sometimes more with permission. We’ll see how much we raise!
Our group will be contributing our own time and money, and I’m asking the company to match the funds we raise, too. That way we could double the number of presents we send to needy kids! We will provide receipts for all our purchases, including postage.
Join us and let’s surprise some children in need on Christmas morning with some unexpected gifts they will get in the mail. Working together, we can make a difference to those kids.
By the Monday after Thanksgiving, please let me know if you’re interested in volunteering or donating. My info is at the end of this email.
If you’re interested but not sure, you can learn more at our first meeting, which will be held around December 1. I will outline the work to be done and divide up the tasks, and may even create an online sign-up form using www.SignUpGenius.com. Or just come to the meeting and sign up for whatever task you like. [If applicable: I have also created a Facebook group for us at __________ which will post updates. ] I will email updates, too.
Tasks will include being part of a company delegation to visit our local participating USPS Operation Santa branch, where we will read and select letters for adoption by our group. If there is enough demand, we will send more groups of employees.
The closest Operation Santa post office to us will likely be [insert name of the closest branch on the list at www.BeAnElf.org/Locations. The branches on the 2018 list are all very likely to participate again, and we should know more on November 18th.]
I will confirm the time and place for letter reading when the USPS announces this year’s list on November 18, at their website, USPS OperationSanta.com.
We are doing this ourselves, with support from the website and charity, BeAnElf.org. They recommend budgeting about $100 per letter / family, so to adopt 100 letters, we would need to raise about $10,000!
So the number of letters we adopt will be determined by the amount we raise. That’s why the deadline for contributing to our employee fund will be shortly after Thanksgiving.
Some people feel alone and sad over the holidays, and find comfort and inspiration volunteering for this program. Others have families and can bring their kids, to teach them the meaning of Christmas. Of course children will be told that Santa’s volunteer helper elves always forward every letter on to Santa! And I think we should mark all our gifts, “From Santa.”
The contributions by our employees to the little fund I am starting are not tax-deductible, but I dont think anyone will mind. Until two Co-Treasurers are named, I will collect the funds. Send them to the address below.
Those who contributed time or funds will be invited for Christmas cheer and a gift wrapping party around the second or third week of December. This is going to a fun and inspiring project and I hope you will volunteer time or a donation in any amount.
Please reply if you’d like to learn more at our first meeting, just after Thanksgiving.
[Your name and contact info.]
Donations may be sent here, and are not tax-deductible.
[Insert your name, contact email, mailing address, and a way to contribute online: Venmo? Zelle? Paypal? New Go Fund Me page?]