Nearly 200 people, mostly children, attended the U.S. Postal Service’s Letters to Santa Program launch on Nov. 21 at Pier 39’s Holiday Tree Lighting celebration, where kids wrote down their holiday wishes.
Members of the community, including postal employees, were given the first opportunity to respond on Tuesday when they were invited to collect the letters from a local post office.
The letters included those written on Nov. 21 as well as hundreds of other “Santa” letters received by the post office.
James T. Wigdel, spokesman for the San Francisco Postal District, said 300 to 400 letters come in each year.
“A lot of it depends on the economy,” Wigdel said.
Letters are sorted according to need, so the people who are asking for food, clothing and other essential items get priority over kids who are asking for a PlayStation, Wigdel said.
Those who respond to letters have the option to grant requests in the form of a gift, such as a grocery store gift certificate, Wigdel said.
“People need a little extra help sometimes,” Wigdel said.
As a safety precaution, those responding to letters will not know the identity of the child they are writing to.
Those who wish to answer a letter may visit the post office lobby at 1300 Evans Ave. on the next two Tuesdays, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
People responding to the letters must return the letters and any gifts for mailing on Dec. 3, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.