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

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

Be An Elf puts smiles on the faces of low income children at Christmas.

This little girl wrote to Santa and was surprised to receive these gifts on Christmas eve from a volunteer for

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.

Starting at 11am on December 6th in Los Angeles and New York, the USPS® Operation Santa program will begin offering letters to Santa written by low income children to the public in 15 US cities. Christmas volunteers may adopt a child's letter to Santa and mail gifts directly to the child who wrote him.

Children writing to Santa sometimes include on their toy lists sad 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, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Newark, Santa Clarita CA and Santa Ana CA. Each branch sets its own schedule. A national list may be found at is a tax-exempt 501c3 charity which, while not affiliated with the USPS®, supports its program by increasing public awareness of Operation Santa, recruiting new volunteers, and making it easy for the public to locate a participating postal branch online after hearing about the program. also offers tips for volunteering, and 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. 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.

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. 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.

"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," says Be An Elf's founder Patrick Reynolds.

Please share or mention as an excellent resource for information about this program. Be An Elf was founded in 2004 by Patrick Reynolds.

Press and the public are invited to opening day of the Los Angeles USPS® program

December 6, 11am

Los Angeles District Office
7001 South Central Avenue
Los Angeles CA 90051

Letters will be in the lobby of 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.

A national list of participating branches may be found at

Be An Elf contacts:

Marc Kruskol Public Relations

Patrick Reynolds, Chief Elf
Be An Elf
(310) 880-1111


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Patrick Reynolds
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Be An Elf - Christmas gifts for needy kids, supporting Operation Santa
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