“Operation Santa” allows kids and adults across Missouri to have holiday wishes answered by complete strangers. Spokesperson Darleen Reid said the tradition started more than 100 years ago. By the 1940s, Reid said Santa’s mailbag was too full, and he needed help.
“Some folks get very suprised,” Reid said. “They get a response from Santa. Some get a written response, some get a gift, some get a gift card. We let them choose how they’re going to respond.”
She said some of the letters can be difficult to read.
“The very first one that we read out loud was a child not asking for any toys, or electronics, or anything like that, that you would expect,” Reid explained. “He asked for rice and beans. So, a lot of the letters have great need and want.”
Reid added the program also gets touching letters from adults at times.
Letters submitted to “Operation Santa” have all personal information removed, except for the child’s name, age, and what they’ve asked for. Reid claimed the letters generally stay in the area in which they were sent from.
Some “Operation Santa” locations will continue responding to letters through December 23rd. More information can be found at the Postal Service’s website.