Everyone knows that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole. Why Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker started receiving hundreds of letters addressed to Santa at their New York City apartment is a mystery.
Initially, they wrote off the letters as a scam or a practical joke. They Googled their address to see if they could dig up why so many children thought Santa lived at their apartment. But they found nothing.
The pair began to read the letters and noticed a common thread. They were all from New York families who were down on their luck. The letters were the last-ditch hopes of kids whose parents were too poor to buy things. The plight of their fellow New Yorkers touched Jim and Dylan.
Jim said, “These were our neighbors… These were our people. I just felt this need to help them.”
Most of the letters were handwritten. Some were lighthearted and asked for video games. Many were from mothers who couldn’t afford to give their children even basic necessities. They requested winter clothing, blankets, and shoes. One letter specifically moved Dylan. It was from a little boy asking Santa for a bed. He said reading it was like a punch in the gut.
Jim and Dylan decided to act. They posted each letter on social media and asked friends, family, and strangers to help.
As soon as the letters appeared, people from all over the world rushed to answer them. The response was unbelievable.
Jim said, “We’ve had people help from Hawaii, Alaska, Germany, London, Abu Dhabi, and Tokyo. I guess that’s the power of social media…It’s amazing.”
Jim and Dylan have left New York and moved to London. But every Christmas, they continue to answer letters from families in need. They contact their old apartment’s current tenant, who forwards them the letters.
They created a non-profit called Miracle on 22nd Street to connect the letter writers with donors who they call elves. Nine years later, and not a single letter has gone unanswered or a wish unfulfilled. Dylan and Jim’s project has since turned into a global-gifting movement.
There are no hard and fast rules on how participants respond to the letters. It’s enough that they do. It has led to lasting relationships between families and Miracle on 22nd Street elves.
Jim and Dylan say they will continue to answer the letters for as long as they are written!