Making miracles

Santa Claus reviews letters with help from local schoolchildren at the Oakland, CA, Main Post Office, one of several USPS sites that held Operation Santa kickoff events this week.

The Postal Service is once again making the holidays bright for those who need it most.

This week, USPS facilities across the nation kicked off Operation Santa, an annual program that allows employees and customers to help people in need by “adopting” their letters to St. Nick and granting their holiday wishes.

“Operation Santa is about making miracles — and who among us could not use a miracle,” New York City Postmaster Kevin Crocilla said Dec. 6 at a kickoff at the James A. Farley Post Office, traditionally one of the busiest Operation Santa sites.

The letters mostly come from children, according to New York City Customer Relations Coordinator Gail Branham, who serves as the Farley Post Office’s “chief elf.”

“[They’re] asking for holiday dinner, a turkey. They don’t want anything for themselves. They want something for their parents,” Branham told WCBS.

Patrick Reynolds, a longtime Operation Santa volunteer in Los Angeles, praised the Postal Service’s efforts to fulfill children’s wishes while protecting their privacy.

“The Post Office is extremely responsible,” Reynolds told KPCC public radio.

Not all letters come from kids, however.

At the Philadelphia Main Post Office, volunteers received a letter from a single mother of four who is struggling to keep her home after being laid off.

“This Christmas, I won’t be able to do much. I really don’t want to disappoint [my children],” the woman wrote.

Postmaster Eric Henry told KYW-TV the program helps put things in perspective.

“Sometimes it’s hard for us to really understand how privileged we are, until you read how some people live,” he said.