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USPS Launches Annual 'Operation Santa' For 100th Time

LOS ANGELES ( — The U.S. Postal Service is celebrating the 100th anniversary of "Operation Santa" with the launch of this year's program.

"We make available the many letters that we receive, addressed to Santa Claus, and members of the public can come in, and read the letters, and adopt one if they are so moved," USPS spokesman Richard Maher said.

The program, which will be offered in 26 cities across the country, began in 1912 when a postmaster asked local citizens and postal employees to respond to as many letters to Santa as they could.

In the 1940s, local businesses and charitable organizations were invited to participate.

Los Angeles-based website, Be An Elf, provides information on how and where to get involved in the micro-philanthropy.

Shimaya Worthey was one of thousands of children who received a gift from the program. Her mother, Mya, wrote in with a unique request: "All we wanted was for our daughter to have her ears."

Shimaya was born deaf and without a set of ears.

An Operation Santa worker contacted a local plastic surgeon, who donated her services and constructed ears for the girl.

"She'll be going Dec. 6 to get the final bandages taken off. We're just excited, we're happy her confidence has grown so much. She's much happier now," Worthey said.

"Our goal is to have all the letters adopted from people that need help," Maher said. "It's just a heart-warming program this time of year, during this season of giving, to be able to help someone anonymously."

RELATED STORY: 'Operation Santa' Gives Special Patient The Gift Of Surgery

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