USPS hopes to deliver holiday cheer with program

The United States Postal Service’s Operation Santa is a century-old effort to make holiday wishes come true. (Photo by Janelle Patterson)

MARIETTA — People around the nation get their chance to be Santa and grant the Christmas wishes of children by buying items from their letters to Santa.

For the past 108 years, the United States Postal Service has put on its Operation Santa event that helps children in need from all around.

Children write and send their letters to Santa and USPS customers are able to adopt children by choosing their letters and answering their wishes.

“Children all around the county can send their letters to Santa asking for clothes, shoes. We see a lot of children in need asking for those things,”said Naddia Dhalai, strategic communications specialist for the Northern Ohio District and Ohio Valley District. “They don’t ask for an iPhone or gadgets. (It’s) essential items that they need.”

Customers who wish to adopt can select a letter and print out a barcode; after they purchase their gifts, they can bring the barcode to a local post office, pay for shipping and send their package away.

The USPS protects the privacy of the child by not providing any of their personal information, Dhalai said.

This is the second year Dhalai has been involved with the event and she said last year, there was a memorable letter answered in Cleveland.

“There was a child that wanted braces. I guess their family couldn’t afford braces. There was a dentist that volunteered their time and gave them braces,” she said. “It really makes you grateful for what you have.”

Helping kids have a good Christmas has been rewarding to Dhalai.

“Especially this year with COVID, it’s nice to know that kids that their families were able to get the things that they need. We’re helping out in the process, it’s really the customers that are doing the work,” she said.

Kids have already been submitting their letters and customers will be able to access those letters starting Dec. 4 at uspsoperationsanta.com.

Santa letters can be sent to 123 Elf Road, North Pole 88888.

“We just ask customers to take a moment and read through all these letters online. We’re thankful for our customers that do help out,” Dhalai said. “People are kind and generous and it’s amazing to see people’s generosity, by providing children with these things they’ve needed.”

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.


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