Couple Gets Hundreds of Letters to Santa Each Year and Answers Every One
News| | By Valerie Cools
At this time of year, Santa Claus is a symbol of hope for many children in need of comfort or help. Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker have been working hard to keep it that way. What started with a few lost letters to Santa has now become a global movement.
For some years, even before Glaub and Parker moved into their Manhattan apartment on 22nd Street, letters addressed to Santa had been delivered to the address. Because it was only a few letters a year, the tenants ignored them.
But in 2010, the number of letters suddenly skyrocketed up to 450. Glaub and Parker, who have now been married for four years, noticed that all the letters came from various boroughs in New York City. Most of the letters seemed to have been written by children from low-income families, or their parents, often asking not for toys, but for necessities like clothes, or even just food for a Christmas dinner.
“Our mom is not in our lives,” one letter reads. “Our grandfather is raising us the best he can. My brother is taking things the hardest. Last year we ate at a soup kitchen. Please Santa, not this year too. Can you please send a turkey so we can have a real dinner?”
The letters made the couple realize how many people needed help in their own city. They took it upon themselves to answer every letter, with the help of their friends and by using social media.
“I initially thought we should take [the letters] to an organization or something, but as we talked with our friends, more and more people wanted to take a letter and fulfill it,” Parker said on Good Morning America.
Although Glaub and Parker did not meet their goal that first year, they did not give up. They started the Facebook Group “Miracle on 22nd Street,” which now has over 6,000 members worldwide, to reach out to people who might be able to help the kids and families who had written to Santa. The response was overwhelming.
“It’s caused this global effort!” Glaub told People. “We’ve had people from Hawaii to Alaska, Germany to London, Nicaragua, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo – all helping. I guess that’s the power of social media.”
“Neither of us ever imagined things would get this big,” Parker told Your Daily Dish. “It’s amazing, inspiring, and so encouraging to know so many people want to help others. It’s also become clear after this year that we can’t manage all of this on our own!”
The couple have now moved out of the 22nd Street apartment, and currently live in London, but they maintain contact with the current occupants to collect the letters and get them to people who want to help.
“Now it’s gotten to the point where we can’t not do it,” Glaub told People. “We have to do it. It’s just part of our lives.”
All the letters this year have been answered, and efforts are being redirected to other organizations, like Be An Elf, who also strive to help those in need.
“We have not received thank you notes in direct response to individual Santa letters, but that is also not at all expected,” Parker told Your Daily Dish. “This year we had a lovely comment from a former New Yorker who sent letters to a similar address in Manhattan when she was a kid. Hearing that was so touching and absolutely made our day!”
Glaub and Parker never really figured out why they suddenly started receiving so many letters. While they have a few hypotheses, they have decided they would rather not know.
“So much of our lives has to have an answer, but maybe this one should remain a mystery,” Glaub told Good Morning America.
Sometimes, Santa works in mysterious ways.