On December 22, 2000, I was mailing presents at the main branch of the Chicago Post Office. Of course, there was no one else there. Just a table with stacks of letters to Santa from disadvantaged children. I asked the clerk, “how many letters are there?” He responded, “10-12,000. Only about 100 have been answered”. It was a sad, but enlightening moment for me. My kids were young at the time. I knew and cherished the magic of the holidays. The USPS letter writing program is wonderful, and has been around for over 100 years but it has languished the last few decades.
I realized it was time to introduce Santa to today’s world. On the way home, I came up with the idea of Santa for a Day, an internet solution that connects people with disposable income, to retailers, and disadvantaged kids. From Day 1, U.S. Congressman Danny Davis (IL) has been a champion of SFAD and an important reason for our success. After several on-again, off-again attempts with the USPS, we decided to go another route.
Our aim was to reach into Chicago’s most troubled areas and by example show the power of goodness in the face of adversity. In 2018 we partnered with the Chicago Housing Authority and had a very successful test. In 2019, we grew that model adding Milwaukee and Detroit. Last year we reached strategic partnerships with the Housing Authorities of Atlanta, Boston and Kansas City. With generous donors, we hope to be in 10 cities in 2022, and 20 cities by 2023!