First news release – November 20th 2017

First news release – November 20th, 2017: 

LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO, CHICAGO, NEW YORK, BOSTON AND 10 OTHER MAJOR US CITIES – November 20, 2017 – Shortly after Thanksgiving, the USPS Operation Santa program will begin allowing the public to adopt 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, in most cases only for the first two to three weeks of December.

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. This year the letters to Santa may be picked up at a single postal branch in each of the following 15 cities: Los Angeles, New York, Syracuse, 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 create public awareness of the USPS Operation Santa program, and to provide an online guide to the program. Mr. Reynolds is a grandson of tobacco company founder RJ Reynolds, but received an award from the White House for his work against Big Tobacco. While not affiliated with the USPS program, Be An Elf creates public awareness of it, publishes a national list of participating postal branches, recruits hundreds of new volunteers every year, and offers tips for volunteering and alternative ways to volunteer, when there is no Operation Santa branch nearby.

“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’ bio is at and links to his past cable news interviews about Be An Elf are below.

A national list of participating Operation Santa branches with USPS contacts may be found at

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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