More Kids Asking Santa for Food and Clothes Rather Than Toys

Filed under: In The News

asking santa for food picture

U.S. Postal Service employees sort letters to Santa Claus as part of Operation Santa at a post office in Santa Ana, Calif., on Dec. 15. Credit: AP Photo

All one little girl wants from Santa this Christmas is a winter coat -- and not for herself.

She wants it for her mother.

Some letters to Santa could turn even the most Abominable Snow Monster of the North into one mighty humble Bumble. Such pleas certainly break the hearts of the postal employees who sort them.

USA Today reports letters to Santa this year are asking for fewer Xboxes and Barbie dolls and more basic necessities such as food and clothing. Postal employees with the Operation Santa project sift through letters and try to fill some of the children's Christmas wishes.

The task is daunting.

In New York City alone, the newspaper reports, project coordinator Pete Fontana and 22 volunteers have 2 million letters to sort through.

"The need is greater this year than I've ever seen it," Fontana, who's been leading the project for 15 years, tells USA Today.

At more than 20 post offices, workers log every letter, black out identifying information (except first name and age) and ask the public to respond. Lobby displays promote the program. People respond with gifts, which carriers deliver.

"This year my mom don't have much money to spend on Christmas gifts so I'm writing to you," Cesar, 7, tells Santa in one of the letters. "It would make us very happy if you and your elves would bring us toys and clothes."

Darlene Reid, of New York City's main post office, tells the newspaper some letters come from unemployed parents. One mother asked for help with her electric bill after receiving a shut-off notice.

However, as the need for secret Santas is growing because of the sour economy, the number of secret Santas is dwindling for the same reason.

Mark Reynolds of the Postal Service's Chicago district tells USA Today about half the letters won't get answered.

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