Officials with the U.S. Postal Service on Monday expanded the agency’s annual Operation Santa program, which allows people to fulfill wish lists addressed to Santa for families and children in need.
The program opened Monday to letter-writers nationwide. Officials said that, for the first time, the program will be digital, meaning that people or businesses hoping to play Santa can go online beginning Dec. 5 to choose a wish list to adopt.
“2020 has seen its share of challenges affecting individuals and families in so many ways. COVID-19 resulted in job losses, temporary unemployment and, sadly, the loss of family and friends,” Postal Service spokeswoman Kim Frum told USA Today. “Couple that with devastation from natural disasters, and it’s easy to see why USPS’ Operation Santa program is more important than ever.”
Officials encouraged children to send their letters to “Santa Claus” at “123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888” through Dec. 15. Letters must be sent in stamped envelopes with return addresses on them, according to the Postal Service.
Beginning Dec. 4, officials will post letters, minus personally identifiable information, on USPSOperationSanta.com for potential adopters to peruse. People hoping to fulfill a wish list will be required to register for the program and undergo an ID verification process for security reasons, officials said.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, people will not be allowed to adopt letters in person at post offices this year.
Operation Santa, which first launched in 1912, aims to “help those in need at the holidays experience the joy of opening presents” and “to create holiday memories,” according to the Postal Service. Since then, officials said the program has helped “countless” families to enjoy the holidays.