Operation Santa: Good Samaritans Summoned to Fulfill the Saddest Christmas Wishes You Ever Heard

It’s been a rough year for everyone, but 2020 has hit kids particularly hard. Without a steady school schedule, sports and other extracurricular activities, or any real face time with friends, young people are suffering. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

With the holiday season comes the opportunity – no, the duty – of those of us who can to give back. And the United States Postal Service (USPS) has a very special way for adults to do just that.

It’s called Operation Santa, and it encourages adults to become “surrogate Santas.” Here’s how it works: every year, kids from around the country send letters to Santa through the USPS. Many of them would break the heart of even the stingiest Grinch.

Here are a few from last year:

“Dear Santa: I wish I could help my grandmother and granddad. They always help other people but now they are both sick and can’t do much these days so I’m reaching out to you.” – Taja

“Dear Santa: I want one thing. I’ve been a good girl and I want to ask you if you please get me a new power wheelchair. My wheelchair is very old and it does not want to work. I am very sad. Please Santa, bring me a power wheelchair. I don’t want nothing else. If you can bring my service dogs some healthy treats. Thank you Santa.” – Vicki

“Dear Santa: I am writing to you to see if you can help my family. My mom passed from cervical cancer. Even though I’m a boy and was always told not to cry it is still hard not having my mommy around. My dad is having a hard time taking care of us. I know the weather is changing and hopefully you can help us with a warm coat and gloves. Thank you so much Santa.” – Almir

Starting today, more letters like these will be posted on the Operation Santa website. Good Samaritans can “adopt” these kids and fulfill their wishes by mailing or bringing a gift to the post office. (Gift cards are preferred to cash or checks.)

“Let’s face it, this year has been a struggle for so many people in more ways than one,” the USPS said in a statement. “Thoughts of kids, the holidays and wondering how to provide for them may also be weighing heavily on many. But take heart, Santa and the Postal Service are way ahead of you, and are here to help.”

Need a little nudge? A new documentary about Operation Santa, titled Dear Santa, from IFC films, also drops today – and it’s a total tearjerker.

So what are you waiting for? We know Santa isn’t real – but the spirit of the season is, and you can be a pivotal part in changing one kid’s Christmas for the better.

Cover Photo: Jose Luis Pelaez (Getty Images)

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