NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — The holiday season is in full swing and you can become a hero by helping the United States Postal Service in  “Operation Santa.”

The program, which has operated for nearly 100 years, enables members of the public and charities to respond to letters from children that are addressed to Santa Claus.

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1010 WINS’ John Montone at the James A. Farley Building Post Office

READ: Operation Santa Letters (pdf)

USPS goes through the letters to identify those who express serious need. Some cities and towns work with local schools to write back to the children as if they were Santa, according to the Postal Service.

Some communities also work with established groups to assist with collecting presents, while others invite the public to adopt Santa letters to help children and families in need.

USPS’ Chief Elf Pete Fontana said he has read several letters ranging from a grandmother asking Santa to help her unemployed daughter so she can buy toys for her kids to a 14-year-old boy asking for clean socks and shirts so other children stop poking fun at him.

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“Some of them write letters asking to help pay the bills,” Fontana said.

LINK: Find Out How You Can Participate By Clicking Here

Two years ago the Postal Service adopted new guidelines to protect children by removing references to specific addresses. Instead, they assign the letter a number and people wishing to adopt a letter go to the Post Office and sign a form while presenting photo ID and fill out a form including the list of letters being adopted.

Those adopting a letter can return to the Post Office and send the package without that individual seeing the address.

New York’s James A. Farley Building Post Office receives the most letters to Santa in the country.

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Are you planning on participating in ‘Operation Santa?’  Let us know below…