Patrick Reynolds, long time member and participant of MCLA Sacred Path Retreats, Executive Director and founder of  "Smokefree America," has put on his altruistic hat and has taken the executive director role of Be An Elf, A Christmas Charity. 

Be An Elf's mission is to make underprivileged children smile on Christmas morning, and to inspire the public with the real spirit of Christmas. Starting December 1, the non-profit group launches a nationwide annual campaign to recruit volunteers for the US Postal Service's® Operation Santa program, which for over 100 years has been distributing letters to Santa written by kids in need. Their letters often ask Santa only for a toy, Christmas dinner, clothes or other basic needs.  



Anyone from the public may read children's letters to Santa starting the first week of December. Volunteers may adopt the letters that move them most, take them home, and later mail their gifts directly to the needy child or family. There’s no middle man or charity when people participate in this way; it’s micro-philanthropy, direct from each volunteer to a child. Volunteers catch the true spirit of the holidays and put smiles on the faces of underprivileged kids on Christmas morning.

In 2017, children's letters will be made available at 15 post offices around the US, mostly in large cities.

Some people feel alone and sad over the holidays, and find comfort and inspiration being part of this program. Others have families and bring their kids, to teach them the meaning of Christmas.  


Be An Elf was awarded a continuing $10,000 per month in-kind grant from Google for free advertising. Be An Elf is not affiliated with the US Postal Service's®Operation Santa program, but supports the program by recruiting new volunteers and making it easy to learn where and how to volunteer.

Every year around December 1st, the group posts a list of the current season's participating postal branches and hours of operation, and sends out a news release to create additional public awareness of the venerable USPS® program. The website offers a roadmap and excellent tips for volunteering for this wonderful holiday program. To learn more, visit