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Letters to Santa project spreads holiday joy

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, at 10:13 p.m.

One child writes to Santa asking for an elf to help his mother around the house, another wishes for gloves for the homeless.

The Letters to Santa project has revealed to creator, Angela Cato, marketing director of Arts and Cultural Services for the city of Wichita, how seriously the children take the letter-writing.

From Nov. 13 to Dec. 14, Letters to Santa encouraged children to submit their letters to Santa mailboxes around Wichita.

The children received a reply letter from Santa that says he has looked over their list and will try to make their holiday as happy as possible.

“It puts a smile on your face,” Cato said. “So few things in life are so sweet and preserved like the Santa Claus story. It’s just a fun thing to do for the kids.”

In its third year, this is the first year the project has had two community partners, Starkey Inc. and Cambridge Market.

As part of Starkey’s employment program, people with intellectual disabilities were given the job of folding letters and preparing envelopes for mailing.

“For us it was a small way to give back and assist the city with a joy-filled project,” Jamie Opat, Starkey director of communications, said. “We are always seeking more ways to get involved in the community because for people with disabilities, inclusion is very important.”

The first year of the project, 300 letters were collected.

This year 1,500 children wrote letters to Santa and were entered in a drawing to win prizes.

The grand prize is a ride to school on a fire truck.

“People grow up too quickly already,” Cato said. “To preserve Santa for kids, to have that childlike innocence and happiness, it’s the least we can do.”

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