The USPS and IWCO Direct: Delivering Joy This Holiday Season

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Michelle Fuchs

IWCO Direct is proud to partner with the USPS to make the holidays shine for children in need. Would you or your organization like to join our efforts by adopting a child’s letter to Santa? Keep reading to learn how we support Operation Santa®.

The USPS historically has received thousands of letters from children who believe Santa will grant their Christmas wish. Think of the movie, “Miracle on 34th Street,” when thousands of letters to Santa were presented in court as proof that Kris Kringle was the real Santa Claus. In real life, the letters were put aside as undeliverable until 1912, when Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock authorized local postal employees to read and respond to them. Operation Santa had begun!

The USPS and IWCO Direct Become Santa’s Helpers

In 2017, IWCO Direct partnered with MRM, a digital marketing agency supporting the USPS, to digitize Operation Santa for New York residents. Our IT team built the database and developed the data and web services that supported New York’s Operation Santa website, which allowed residents to select a letter to Santa received by the USPS online and respond. This magic spread nationwide in 2019, when the letters to Santa were made available online to all U.S. residents.

How Operation Santa Works

Today, our partnership with the USPS remains strong. The IWCO Direct IT team continues to collaborate with the USPS to keep the magic going every year by developing applications that meet ever-changing system requirements. The program, currently celebrating its 110th year, is now totally digital, and has a following on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. The USPS has begun promoting the program in Spanish in acknowledgment of this growing population.

Letters to Santa started coming in even earlier this year, beginning in mid-September. The letters must include a child’s name and address, and are mailed to Santa Claus, 123 Elf Road, North Pole 88888. The letters are opened and reviewed at Santa’s “US Satellite Workshop” where they are sorted, redacted for all personal data identifiers, and keyed in to create a data file. The data file is then transferred to IWCO Direct via SFTP where it is transformed by applying business rules and standardized. All personal information is then encrypted prior to being loaded into the database. The redacted letters are then sent directly to MRM, who determines which ones are appropriate to post to the USPS Operation Santa website. IWCO Direct ensures that the correct data is merged with each letter on the site, and when a letter is adopted, our IT Team provides a QR code that the participants can use to ship their presents via USPS mail. All adopters must register on the website and go through a verification process, in order to protect the privacy of both the letter writers and the adopters.

Want to Make a Child’s Christmas Dream Come True?

Without Operation Santa, some families would not be able to share in the joys of the season. Last year, more than 21,000 presents were shipped. We are hoping to make this year even more successful. If you or your organization are interested in adopting letters to make a difference for a child in need, the Operation Santa website is now open. Letters can be adopted, and gifts can be sent now through December 19.

Happy Holidays to all!

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