People wishing to help the U.S. Postal Service answer letters to Santa Claus from needy families can begin registering Monday, when Operation Santa opens to the public for volunteer registration at www.uspsoperationsanta.com/.
Every year since 1912, the postal service has processed a massive amount of mail from children whose lists include basic necessities like a warm coat, and from parents who describe their struggles with employment or health.
The USPS recruits individual and group volunteers for help with getting these kids Christmas gifts.
Beginning Nov. 29, anyone can adopt one or more of these letters. Family names and addresses are redacted, and when a volunteer adopts a letter online, a bar-coded shipping label prints out with each letter. Volunteers use it to mail gifts directly to the child or family who wrote to Santa.
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Among the many groups pitching in to help is Southern California-based BeAnElf.org, which offers an online guide to the program for families in need and for volunteers from the public who wish to adopt their letters to Santa.
Parents seeking help with Christmas gifts can find useful do's and don'ts at BeAnElf.org/seeking-gifts/.
“Some people feel alone and sad over Christmas, and find comfort and inspiration volunteering for this program,'' BeAnElf's Patrick Reynolds told City News Service on Sunday. ``They catch the true spirit of the holidays, knowing they will put smiles on kids' faces on Christmas.''
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Letters to Santa must be postmarked by Dec. 10 to be selected for the website. The site closes for letter adoption on Dec. 23.
The official USPS address for Santa Claus is 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888.