USPS' Operation Santa kicks off, fulfilling kids' Christmas wishes

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Santa stopped by the US Post Office in downtown Chicago Wednesday to kick off the postal service's annual Operation Santa program.

The program has been fulfilling wish lists for children for more than 100 years.

Santa made the rounds downtown, giving a little early Christmas cheer to some youngsters.

"This is one of the most rewarding experiences that I have as a post master," said Post Master Wanda Prater.

Operation Santa is now in its 107th year, inviting individuals and organizations to adopt letters to Santa from hopeful children and families in need, and drop off the requested gifts at the post office.

Patricia Wells and two members of a Sunday school class at their church were doing just that Wednesday, looking for letters from children asking for presents that they could afford.

"I feel that we were all put there to help someone else," Wells said. "And even though we don't have much to give, we're willing to give it."

Lending Santa a hand and making Christmas merry for kids in need has gotten even easier. The post office has gone digital with its gift-giving efforts, launching the operation online. But there are still hard copies to pick up at the main post office on Harrison.

Kat Bartochowski and her daughter Juniper were at the post office to take home a letter Wednesday.

"You don't want anybody to feel the sadness or the loneliness, or feel left out of that good cheer," she said.

Letters to Santa can be addressed to 123 Elf Road, North Pole 88888. All letters should be postmarked by December 14.
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