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December 3, 2013 > Bay Area children can write to Santa

Bay Area children can write to Santa

Submitted By Augustine Ruiz Jr.

As the Postal Service celebrates the 101st anniversary of the Letters to Santa program, the Bay-Valley District of the United States Postal Service will have SantaÕs helpers assist people who want to respond to children and families who have written letters to Santa.

The Bay-Valley District ÒLetters to Santa ProgramÓ will kick-off on Tuesday, December 3 with a celebration in the main lobby at the Oakland Processing and Distribution Center.

ÒDuring these difficult economic times, many families and children write to Santa as a last resort,Ó said Bay-Valley District Manager Mark Martinez. ÒMany families are just looking for the basic necessities Ð food, clothes, blankets, a place to stay, a job, a missing parent Ð and in most cases the children who write are asking for something for a sister or brother, or other family member, instead of themselves.Ó

The Postal Service began receiving letters to Santa Claus more than a century ago when the New York Post Office received its first Santa letter from a child. However, the Post Office Department made the program official in 1912 when Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local Postmasters to allow postal employees and citizens to respond to letters, and thus introduced the first Operation Santa Program. Since then the American public has continued to respond as postal employees, volunteers, and organizations remain committed to making Christmas just a little bit brighter for children and families.

How to Adopt a Letter: Customers and organizations wanting to adopt a letter must come to a participating Operation Santa Post Office in person. Both individuals and organizations must fill out the proper PS-forms (6012, 6012-A, 6012-I), and show identification before any letters can be viewed.

For organizations wanting to adopt a letter, please send a representative with correspondence on letterhead from your company/organization authorizing them to view the letters on behalf of your company/organization. Your representative must present his or her employee ID and a valid state driverÕs license or state issued ID card.

For individuals wanting to adopt a letter, please bring a valid state driverÕs license or state-issued ID card. After completing the forms, you may then read and choose a letter(s). In order to protect the anonymity of the letter writers, all personal information will be redacted from the letters you view, no last names, addresses, or contact information of any kind will be visible.

Bring your selections to a postal clerk so they can notate which letter(s) you will adopt. Here is the fun part Ñ you get to be SantaÕs helper by fulfilling the wishes of the letter writer. Once you have fulfilled the wish, you simply bring your wrapped gift(s) back to the same Operation Santa location to mail. Individuals and organizations will be responsible for paying the postage to mail the gifts back to the recipient. The return address on the box will read Operation Santa-North Pole.

Letters to Santa
Dec. 3 Ð Dec. 19, Monday Ð Friday only
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Oakland Processing and Distribution Center
1675 7th St, Oakland
For more information or to volunteer, call: (510) 874-8737.

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