Monday, December 19, 2005

Operation Santa Claus

On Saturday, I went to the main Manhattan post office to check out Operation Santa Claus, which I wrote about in a previous entry. I was pleasantly surprised by the numbers of people there, both men and women of different races and ages, including some parents with kids. The post office had separated the letters to Santa by area -- the five boroughs, New York state and out of state -- and there was also a bin exclusively for letters in Spanish.

Although many of the kids requested items like an XBox or an iPod, a good number also wanted stuff like a new winter coat because they had grown out of their old one. I also didn't expect the letters from adults, some of whom wrote of losing their jobs or only making enough to pay for rent and utilities. Probably most distressing, and exasperating, to me were the letters from single mothers asking for clothes for their six children. Distressing and exasperating because I don't understand (OK, maybe a little) why these women chose to have so many children when they can't provide for their basic needs.

Operation Santa Claus operates through Friday, Dec. 23, so I'd urge anyone with some time to participate. You can look through as many letters as you like to find one (or more) you think you can fulfill. I think some of these kids would be grateful to receive anything, however small, so you don't necessarily have to spend a lot of money to make a child's Christmas.


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