InsideOut Online

Highlighting the Houston District

Recent Houston Chronicle Article “Postal Service elves could use your help”

 

They need volunteers to help fulfill lists of needs, not wants
By Carol Christian | December 11, 2012 | Updated: December 12, 2012 12:49pm

Chronicle121212“Dear Santa, I’m 8 years old. I’m writing you this letter because my mother does not have a job. No lights and me and my mom are suffering a lot. … We do not have money to pay for rent. We do not have a car to get around. Me and my mom live alone.”

Despite the letter’s bleak tone, the child tells Santa she doesn’t want anything but peace and a guardian angel.

“The people who help us reflect God’s blessings,” she wrote.

When letters like this arrive in Santa’s mailbox at the North Pole, there are always elves working day jobs at the U.S. Postal Service who see them and feel compelled to answer the requests, said Dionne Montague, spokeswoman for the Postal Service’s Houston district office.

This year, for the first time in Houston, members of the public can “adopt” letters or respond to children who have expressed needs, rather than the typical wish lists of kids who want everything from Beyblade spinning battle toys to iPhones.

“We had a 6-year-old ask for a bed,” Montague said. “Hopefully we’ll get someone who will step in and do that.” A boy asked for winter clothes because he had only a summer wardrobe, Montague said.

“He wanted a red jacket but said, ‘I’ll take any color you bring.’ ”

Although rare, adults also write letters. A woman asked for a wheelchair for her husband, an amputee.

The letters slated for adoption are selected by a Dear Santa Committee – six postal employees who volunteer to read every request mailed to Santa Claus, with or without a stamp.

The employees pitch in with Operation Santa on their own time, getting together outside business hours to go through stacks of mail.

If a letter has a return address, the elves send a response, to let the writer know the missive made it to the North Pole.

The committee’s work comes when many postal employees are already putting in 10 to 12 hours a day to accommodate the holiday mail crush, said William Mitchell, Houston district manager.

Organized by Montague, the committee includes Tara Wood, a labor relations specialist; Maria Bernal, receptionist; Festus Obi, writer; Michelle DeGomez, Web specialist; and Belinda McClenon, secretary.

Elsewhere, the Postal Service has welcomed public support with letters to Santa for decades.

Operation Santa began 100 years ago, when the Postal Service authorized local post offices to allow employees and citizens to respond to letters.

This made official what was already happening, Montague said.

“Postal employees were adopting letters before they had permission,” she said. “People were secretly writing letters back.”

December 13, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Deliver Children’s Holiday Dreams

By USPSBlog –
Deliver Children’s Holiday Dreams.

December 7, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Santa Claus Visits Pasadena Main Post Office

Santa Claus recently visited the Pasadena Main Post Office to collect letters from some local children. 

This is the 100th year anniversary of Operation Santa. The Houston District is a National Operation Santa site this year. If you would like to participate by adopting a letter and help make this Christmas full of happy memories for a child who might otherwise go without, email the Houston Communication Team or call 713-226-3335 for more information.

December 5, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment