Christmas Charity Be An Elf is a Great Guide to USPS Operation Santa, Through Which the Public May Adopt Letters to Santa From Underprivileged Children

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Be An Elf is a children's charity that supports the USPS Operation Santa program, now distributing letters to Santa from underprivileged children to Christmas volunteers. Be An Elf brings joy to needy children at Christmas.

Smiles on Christmas eve

These children received gifts from USPS Operation Santa volunteers on Christmas Eve.

It's micro-philanthropy, direct from a volunteer to a child. When people volunteer in this way, they catch the true spirit of the holidays and put smiles on the faces of needy kids on Christmas morning. is an online guide to the USPS Operation Santa ® program, now offering the public letters to Santa written by low income children. For the first three weeks of December, Christmas volunteers may adopt a needy child's letter to Santa and mail their gifts directly to the child who wrote the letter.

The children's letters to Santa often ask for “a warm coat”, “food or clothes” or “shoes for my older brother.” They are written by kids and struggling parents who clearly need a brighter Christmas. Volunteers return to the same post office with their gifts ready for mailing, and send them directly to the child or family.

It's micro-philanthropy, direct from a volunteer to a child. When people volunteer in this way, they catch the true spirit of the holidays and put smiles on the faces of needy kids on Christmas morning.

Needy children's letters to Santa will be distributed in 15 major cities at a single postal branch in each. The letters will be available in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Santa Clarita CA and Santa Ana CA.

New York will make its letters to Santa available starting December 7th. Each postal branch sets its own schedule; info on all cities is on Be An Elf's list of 2015 Locations is not affiliated with the USPS ®, but is a tax-exempt 501c3 charity and website whose mission is to support the Postal Service's wonderful program by increasing public awareness of it, recruiting new volunteers for it, and letting the public know where to find a participating postal branch.

The site also offers tips for volunteering smartly and effectively, suggesting gifts like backpacks, school supplies, new clothes, books, and a small gift for the mothers, who the site notes are often living below the poverty line and feeling sad over the holidays. Moms also write to Santa, listing their children's clothing and shoe sizes. Some volunteers prefer to simply mail the moms a gift card from Target or another store, so the moms can do their own shopping.

Some 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.'s website offers tips like giving a holiday party at which friends are asked to bring gifts. They wrap them together and share the cost, the work and the fun. It's a smart and effective way to volunteer. Companies may adopt multiple USPS letters to Santa, and distribute them to interested employees.

Volunteer Elves discover the meaning of the holidays and find real Christmas spirit -- and most important, they put smiles on needy children’s faces on Christmas morning.


First, encourages media to report on the USPS Operation Letters to Santa program ®, and not on Be An Elf. We would be very pleased with a mention of our website at the end of coverage, as an excellent resource for volunteers. After seeing a news story, the public can quickly learn where and when they can participate in the USPS ® program, as prominently lists the locations and schedules of all 15 cities offering the program.

We strongly recommend that reporters visit an Operation Santa ® postal branch and interview volunteers from the public, as they read children's letters. Broadcast media may wish to have then read a letter or two aloud; print media may wish to quote the letters.

Resources permitting, volunteers may also be followed as they shop for gifts, wrap them at home, and later when they return to the post office to mail their gifts.

Photos of actual children and moms receiving gifts on past Christmas Eves are downloadable at the top of Be An Elf's Press Images page, and on the Photos page. The smiles of the children, and the tears and smiles of the moms in our photos, say it all. Please credit

Thank you for mentioning as an excellent website for more information on the USPS program. Be an Elf was founded in 2004 by Patrick Reynolds, a volunteer.


For a list of all locations around the US, see Be An Elf's up-to-date list of 2015 list of Operation Santa Location s


Fox News Channel Story with Be An Elf spokesperson, December 5, 2011

MSNBC News Segment with Be An Elf spokesperson Patrick Reynolds, December 4, 2011

Fox News Segment, America’s News HQ, December 15, 2013

NBC Today Show Anchors mention website, December 9, 2012


Increase your impact: let your art department know they
may download high resolution photos and kids' letters here.


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Patrick Reynolds
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since: 07/2011
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Be An Elf - Christmas gifts for needy kids, supporting Operation Santa
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