NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Children all over the world are writing letters to Santa, asking for something special.
Every year, the U.S. Postal Service program Operation Santa receives thousands of those letters. This year, many are coming from children in Puerto Rico, whose families are still trying to recover after Hurricane Maria.
As CBS2’s Cindy Hsu reports, there’s a way you can help. It’s easier than ever to become Santa’s helper.
When Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico three months ago, it washed away the island’s own Operation Santa program. So now, the letters are being rerouted to Manhattan.
“Some of them are heartbreaking, where they’re asking for a new pair of shoes. Obviously, this time of year, it’s not cold necessarily in Puerto Rico, but there’s a lot of other challenges that the people of Puerto Rico are facing,” said Xavier Hernandez, with the U.S. Postal Service.
Scott Schwartz has been adopting letters for years and is happy the program has been expanded to Puerto Rico.
“That was very moving to me,” he said. “Obviously, things are so difficult there now after the hurricane.”
Yuki Lim said learning what children are dreaming of can get emotional.
“Even just reading the letters – it gets me choked up,” he said.
He’s especially touched by children who ask for gifts for the whole family, like one requesting pots and pans.
“Dear Santa, I want Barbie collectibles and a pot set for my beautiful mommy,” Lim read.
Operation Santa started 105 years ago.
Normally, people would have to visit the post office to pick up a letter. But for the first time, you can do it on your phone or computer.
Just go to DeliverCheer.com and you can read letters online. Then, choose the ones you’d like to help with.
George Joseph started helping with Operation Santa 10 years ago, when he used to live in New York.
“Now, I live in Tampa. I come back every year just to do this,” he told Hsu.
Now that’s what the holidays are all about.
Operation Santa is accepting letters and helpers through December 22.