Friday, November 30, 2007

Dear Santa....

For the last couple of years my office has participated in a project called Operation Santa Claus that is organized by the US Postal Service. You'll find more information regarding this program below:
"Operation Santa Claus," as it’s referred to by Manhattan’s general post office, began more than 70 years ago when a handful of postal clerks rescued a few "Dear Santa" letters destined for the dead letter office. The wish lists were for food and clothing—appeals that reflected the hardship of the Depression. The clerks pooled their resources to fulfill the requests, and they’ve been doing it ever since.

These days, Operation Santa is organized by the post office but driven by volunteers, who descend on the James A. Farley Building on 8th Avenue in Manhattan, where all of Santa’s mail is forwarded. After postal workers open and sort the envelopes, the public is invited to read the messages and answer the letters. People from all walks of life take part, and many parents bring their own children to show them that giving is as much a part of Christmas as receiving. Folks who are unable to physically go to the Farley Building call in and have notes sent to them.

Most of the letters come from the New York metropolitan area, but all states are represented, and there are a surprising number of appeals from adults. The children’s requests range from predictable, i.e. a Sony PlayStation 2, to the heartbreaking—"Please send food, because if you don’t have food then you’ll die and I don’t want to die." The letters from adults generally describe a family’s financial hardship—often brought on by an unexpected death or disease—and request assistance "so my kids will have a nice holiday."

I had to share a few of the letters we've received so far this year, partly because they are enough to break your heart, and partly because they will help you realize just how truly blessed you are and how little you are truly in "NEED" of.

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