Thousands of letters to Santa prompt generosity in Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Thousands of kids in the U.S. have already written letters to Santa Claus. But just as in previous years, Santa is a little busy and is asking for help in buying some of those presents. That's where people like you and the U.S. Postal Service jump in.

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It may not be the North Pole, but the San Francisco Main Post Office is where many of Santa's letters are read and sorted out. Here are what a few said's what one said:

Dear Santa, Merry Christmas and a Happy holiday to you. What I really want is an Atari Flashback portable. P.S. I will make brownies for you.

There are some kids who want to ask Santa in person.

One San Francisco distribution center alone has received 1,500 letters to Santa, but only those with a return address are included in the Letters to Santa Program, a gift-giving project that started in 1912.

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"It's not like Santa doesn't exist, of course, he does, but we know how he can get stressed out during this time of the year and may need a little help from us," said Rita Fernandes of the U.S. Postal Service.

"We have about a couple of companies who have sponsored about 50 letters, so it can be anyone," said San Francisco resident Maureen Ebersole. "We just come down and pick out three letters. We find them all pretty cute and funny and we get a mix of boys and girls."

The addresses of the children are never given out. Donors are assigned a number and the post office makes sure they get to their destination.

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