NHS joins the United States Postal Service in its yearly Operation Santa Claus

Club members adopt letters from children all over the country and try to fulfill their Christmas wishlists


Lucy Anne Heine-Van Fossen

NHS cabinet members posing in front of large pile of gifts from club members

Pile of gifts collected from NHS members on Dec. 11 (Kevin Ma)

In lieu of their yearly holiday gift wrapping event at The Oaks mall, the National Honors Society has decided to participate in a new holiday event this year: Operation Santa. 

“Operation Santa event is an event where students get the opportunity to fulfill the Christmas wishes of less fortunate children, who send in their requests to the USPS with the postmark addresses to “Santa.” Students can then become the Santa that these kids need by making the wishes detailed in their letters come true,” junior and NHS president Kevin Ma said. 

In order to sign up, club members look through a spreadsheet and choose kids they would like to get gifts for. Members aren’t required to obtain all of the items on the kids’ wishlists, however, it is highly recommended that they try to fulfill as many reasonable requests as possible. According to junior and NHS secretary Anusha Rao, some kids asked “for abstract requests … such as peace, or the end of COVID,” and though those aren’t easily attainable at the moment, gifts such as clothes and toys are.

Club members who have participated in purchasing gifts have expressed their joy in taking part in an event that impacts various communities across the country.

“Operation Santa has made me appreciate the ability I have to give back to other kids who maybe don’t receive as much as I do during this time. This event has made me feel like I’ve done something good during this season by giving back to other children who maybe don’t receive many things this time of year,” sophomore and club member Emma Johnson said. 

Madelyne Cascione, a sophomore club member, echoes Johnson’s statement, stating that she is thankful for the opportunity to help those less fortunate.

“Operation Santa has made me feel grateful that I am able to help other children around this time of year when they maybe don’t get as much as I do,” Cascione said. 

The main goal of the event is to help less fortunate children.

According to the U.S. Postal Service website,the mission of USPS Operation Santa is to provide a channel where people can give back and help children and families — enabling them to have a magical holiday when they otherwise might not — one letter to Santa at a time.” 

The club currently has around 100 members and of those, there are nearly 90 participants who will be “adopting” letters this holiday season. Ma and Rao both mentioned that the turnout was far greater than they expected, but that it’s great news all around.

Shipping costs have amounted to high numbers and they are being paid for by the NHS board as well as with club funds, which has raised worry among some members, however, Ma says that the “NHS is always happy to contribute to a good cause.” 

The NHS Cabinet hopes to continue this event in the future should participation and club membership continue to increase.

Board and club members alike are excited to send out their packages and are hopeful that the children receiving them are happy. Likewise, the NHS Cabinet has expressed their hope that participants take advantage of this opportunity to give back to those who need it.

“I hope the students that participate in this event will still be able to feel the joy of Christmas and the gift of giving during our current situations. I wanted to offer students an opportunity to have a real connection with children that are less fortunate, and feel as if they are personally shopping for them. I hope that the children that receive their gifts will be able to enjoy the wonders of Christmas, and still have Santa looking after them when they need it the most,” Ma said. 

Rao adds that she hopes club members that participate take the event seriously and most importantly, provide children with a memorable holiday during difficult times. 

“I hope our participants don’t view this as a service event to check off or put on their resume, but rather a genuine opportunity to give back to children, especially this year when the COVID-19 pandemic has caused so much economic and social change. I hope the kids receiving the gifts are thrilled with what our members have selected for them, and that they are able to have special holidays. Reading their letters are extremely moving, so I’m excited to ship the packages out,” Rao said. “The holiday season is a great time to give back to the community. It’s really nice to feel the holiday spirit, especially at the end of such a long year! Happy Holidays!”