Green Bank Post Office participating in Operation Santa
In its 100th year, Operation Santa – a United States Postal Service program – is providing Christmas gifts to thousands of children and families in the country.
The Green Bank Post Office is participating for the second time.
“Last year was our first year and I was kind of new to it, too,” postmaster Doris Stump said. “The only one adopted was the one I did. One person can adopt up to 10 [letters] and a business can adopt up to 50.”
So far this year, the post office has received eight letters. The letters are copied and entered into the computer system. Then, Stump removes personal information like last names and addresses, and puts the letters in a box for customers to read and select.
Green Bank is one of 26 post offices participating this year, and has received letters from New York and Illinois.
“Of the eight letters, none are from the state,” Stump said. “All the ones I’ve got now are from New York City or Chicago. That’s a harder hit area, especially this year with [Hurricane] Sandy.”
Stump explained that when a family or child writes an Operation Santa letter, they go online to find a post office to send their letters to and so the only way Green Bank receives letters is if it is selected.
Those who “adopt” a letter never know who they are buying a gift for, other than a first name. Once the packages are ready, they are taken to the post office where Stump will address them once the customer is gone.
“When the customer gets the gift, they pay postage to mail it and I put the label on it after the customer leaves so they still can’t see the address,” Stump said.
Even if a letter isn’t adopted, Stump still makes sure that the sender receives a special note.
“We cannot guarantee that every letter will be adopted,” she said. “I will go ahead and send them all letters from Santa. I did that last year.”
Gift requests range from clothing and toys to special requests like one from a little girl last year.
“A physician adopted a little girl who didn’t have an ear,” Stump said. “She donated her time for surgery and the hospital donated the operating room. An anonymous donor donated some diamond stud earrings for her. There’s been a lot of nice stories.”
Letters are available for viewing and adoption at the Green Bank Post Office.
Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org