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Hard Times Letters to Santa45:38
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We read letters to Santa from kids living in the rough American economy.

U. S. Postal Service employee Rita Rose displays one of thousands of “Dear Santa” letters that her office handles in Sacramento, Calif., Dec. 15, 2010. (AP)
U. S. Postal Service employee Rita Rose displays one of thousands of “Dear Santa” letters that her office handles in Sacramento, Calif., Dec. 15, 2010. (AP)

By Tom Ashbrook

Letters to Santa always tug at the heartstrings. This year, they can break your heart.

The letters speak of the simplest needs and the most basic struggles: Please Santa, we need new shoes. Please Santa, mom or dad needs a job. They tell the story of hard times for millions in the most plaintive, honest words.

And they have postmasters who get those letters speaking up.

Julie Kenney, customer relations coordinator and head of the Operation Santa initiative for the Chicago-area U.S. Postal Service, says requests for items such as laptops and iPods are down significantly.

“A lot of children, they’re asking for coats, shoes…just basic needs, comforters, blankets,” Kenney says. “We have some that say that they just have an apartment and they don’t have any furniture – no blankets, no sheets.”

Augustine Ruiz, communications manager for the Bay-Valley and Sacramento districts of the USPS, says this year’s batch of “Dear Santa” letters are a particularly weighty bunch to read. “You can really point out those poignant letters from children that are desperate,” he says. “It’s the way they’re written. Some are written in crayon and just etched in paper."

Below are letters received this year by the Postal Service.

Santa Hi
Santa Hi,
Hope you been ok. I'm writing cause my family is not been doing to well.  my dad left home. my dad loves me & I love him...(See the whole letter.)
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Dear Santa

My name is Octavio. I am 10 yrs old. My Brother Emilio Is 9 and Danny is 3 yrs old. My mom is very sick this year. We won't be able to celebrate Christmas...(See the whole letter.)

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Supplies

Dear Santa,

Something I need is supplies for school because I am constantly running out of paper or pencils because my dog chews them...(See the whole letter.)

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LoveDear Santa,

I dont want anything, but I do want you to transform and change the heart of my daughters and for them to love me.  I know thats alot but please try...(See the whole letter.)

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Support Organizations:

Guests in this segment:

Julie Kenney, customer relations coordinator and head of the Operation Santa Claus initiative for the Chicago area U.S. Postal Service.

Augustine  Ruiz, corporate communications manager for the Bay-Valley and Sacramento districts of the USPS.

Tina Osso, executive director of Shared Harvest in Fairfield, OH.

This program aired on December 21, 2010.

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