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By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

(Photo courtesy of USPS)

Nov.  21, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- The United States Postal Services’ USPS Operation Santa 2020 will offer the opportunity for you to be Santa’s helper and more, even during the pandemic. 

December 4 is the world premiere of ‘Dear Santa,’ a documentary, on the program.  The program offers the opportunity to read digital letters sent to Santa and adopt a family or child by buying gifts. Or for the young and young-at-heart to send in a letter.

“The 108-year-old program that fulfills wish lists for needy families and kids couldn’t come at a more crucial juncture,” postal service spokeswoman Kim Frum told USA TODAY.

The program, according to the USPS Operation Santa’s website, started in 1912 when Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock created a mailbox dedicated to letters for Santa. 

Due to COVID-19, all in-person letter adoptions have been cancelled. Letters, as they come in, are posted online. A “secret Santa” must register and pass an ID verification process to participate. On Dec. 5th letters will start to be posted online.Their annual Santa meet-and-greet has gone virtual, check their website for details.

“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,” said Frum. “Couple that with devastation from national disasters, and it’s easy to see why USPS’ Operation Santa program is more important than ever.” 

The address for standard mail is Santa Claus, 123 Elf Road, North Pole, 88888 through Dec. 15. Additionally, the letter adoption process can be done digitally. 

Visit #USPSOperationSanta on social media for more information or to spread the news on the program.

According to their website 12,761 letters were adopted. Testimonials can be read online as well. 

If a Santa’s helper cannot be verified, they can encourage a friend to create a team and adopt a family with that team. 

Contact your local post office for shipping guidelines during the time of COVID-19 for mailing gifts.