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Volunteers Join 'Operation Santa' To Grant Children's Holiday Wishes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- With carolers singing in the grand lobby of the central post office in Manhattan, the U.S. Postal Service's Operation Santa got underway.

"It started in 1912, and 103 years later we're still going strong," said Postmaster Kevin Crocilla.

Letters to Santa have been pouring into the post office since October, and now volunteers are coming in to fill the need.

Every year, thousands of volunteers respond to letters from children listing their holiday wishes.

"We do have many, many letters where the kids are just requesting either toys or even blankets or coats," Crocilla said. "Some of the letters tug at your heart strings."

Noel Rodriguez and colleague Patty Beja work for Drive Medical in Port Washington and are bringing letters back to the office as a company effort.

"It's just the happiness of knowing that you're helping a child or a family in need that unfortunately at this time don't have the things that they need or the things that they want," Rodriguez said.

Larissa, of Zubatkin Owner Representation, LLC, said her company is taking part for the second year in a row.

"Last year we did 35 letters," she said.

To learn more about Operation Santa, click here.

The post office included additional safeguards this year to protect against fraud after three postal workers were accused of writing phony letters for the program, and stealing gifts for underprivileged children.

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