Postal Service employees make holiday dreams come true in more ways than one.
In addition to accepting, processing and delivering packages filled with gifts, USPS workers in many cities are participating in Operation Santa, an annual program that allows participants to help families in need by “adopting” their letters to Santa Claus and fulfilling their holiday wishes.
More than 5,000 letters were available for adoption when this year’s program launched Dec. 3, and more than 3,300 have been answered so far.
“It was an honor being a part of the Operation Santa program. I never knew how rewarding it would be to receive those letters,” said Marco Salazar, a letter carrier who helped promote the program during a recent tree lighting in Covina, CA, where he served as a special guest “elf.”
This year, the Postal Service is offering two versions of Operation Santa: a legacy program that allows employees and customers to go to participating locations to adopt letters in person, and a digital program that allows individuals in seven cities to go to DeliverCheer.com to read and adopt letters.
The letters received through Operation Santa are often heart wrenching, particularly those that come from people requesting basic necessities.
Phil Millican, Arizona New Mexico District’s acting Post Office operations manager, was among the employees who helped grant wishes this year.
“I went through the letters with my kids, and we had a family evening choosing our letter to adopt,” he said.
Salazar said his participation in the program is something he’ll never forget.
“The ‘giving back’ experience is a memory I will always treasure,” he said.
The USPS Holiday Newsroom site has more Operation Santa information, including a list of this year’s participating postal facilities.