(NEW YORK) — If you’re looking to lend St. Nick a helping hand from the comfort of your own home this Christmas, look no further because the U.S. Postal Service’s annual “Operation Santa” program is online.
In its 107th year, Operation Santa invites individuals and organizations to adopt letters to Santa from hopeful children and families in need and send responses and gifts in his place.
On Monday, the U.S. Postal Service took its gift-giving efforts digital, launching the operation online, for the first time across the U.S.
A few years ago, the program was offered in New York as a trial run. This time around, however, helpers will be able to access letters from underprivileged children and families in 15 U.S. cities.
“This is the most expansive program that we’ve done so far,” said Xavier Hernandez, a USPS communications specialist in Manhattan.
While many children tend to ask the big guy for toys and games, some also request basic necessities such as coats, gloves and hats. Some requests are as simple as help for a loved one who has fallen on tough times.
“It brings real Christmas spirit to people, this program, and that’s why I’ve been a longtime follower and volunteer,” said Patrick Reynolds, a volunteer and creator of Beanelf, a nonprofit designed to support Operation Santa.
USPS said it takes in 500,000 letters a year.
If you’re interested in giving this year, the steps are as follows:
1. Look through letters and adopt ones you love.
2. Find the perfect gift, and keep it anonymous — it’s from Santa, after all.
3. Pack your gifts in a box using USPS shipping.
4. And, finally, take the gift and postage to a participating U.S. post office by Dec. 21.
If some are interested in giving in person, no worries, there are locations in Chicago and New York that will still allow for letters to be adopted in person.
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