Each year, Santa Claus receives millions of letters from boys and girls all over the world, most of which contain their holiday wish lists. These lists are usually comprised of fun-filled toys such as dolls, video games and smartphones. However, there are some children (and even some adults) who send Santa a letter asking for more basic needs, like food, clothing or shelter.
The United States Postal Service, which helps deliver many of Santa’s letters to the North Pole, long ago decided to help St. Nick make some of those wishes come true. Operation Santa is now in its 108th year and it brings needy families and children some of the blessings of the holidays.
According to the USPS, the mission of the program is, “to provide a channel where people can help children and families have a magical holiday when they otherwise might not.”
This year, letters from 15 U.S. cities will be included in a pool of letters placed online for people to potentially “adopt” — Austin, Texas, Baltimore, Maryland, Boston, Massachusetts, Chicago, Illinois, Cleveland, Ohio, Denver, Colorado, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Los Angeles, California, New York, New York, Orlando, Florida, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Phoenix, Arizona, Sacramento, California, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC.
You can review letters from individuals or families on the official Operation Santa website and then make your choice based on the ones that touch your heart the most.
Letters come from children of all ages and even some adults. Some ask for basic necessities like clothing. Others have specific gift requests, just like everyone else reaching out to Santa Claus with their wish list.
Brianna is 15 years old and wrote a lovely letter to Santa asking for something special for her mom.
“I live with my mom, who works hard for me and my brothers to make us happy,” she wrote. “She sometimes struggles financially and with money to give us things we need and want. Please give her something special that would make her happy on Christmas.”
Once you choose a letter to adopt, you’ll get an email with instructions on how to put your package together and mail it to ensure it gets to the proper recipient. The USPS protects the letter writer and his or her family by assigning anonymous tracking numbers. Just get your packages to the post office by Dec. 21 and let USPS deliver a happy holiday surprise to the letter writer of your choice!
Will you join the ranks of helper elves making another family’s holiday extra merry?
This story originally appeared on Simplemost. Checkout Simplemost for additional stories.