This Christmas 2012 was unusually busy for the Adopt A Letter program founded by Kimberly Moore. Not only did they surprise and bring Christmas to 100 selected children who were transported to the Century Plaza hotel for a Winter Wonderland event to pick up their gifts from Santa, Moore had plans to visit 1,000 more children in the community who were not able to celebrate Christmas.
The Kimberly Moore’s Adopt A Letter program answers wishes to Santa Claus in the community written by children in need and fulfills their Christmas wishes. The program has gained popularity in the Los Angeles area and has already answered over 25,000 wishes! What makes the Adopt A Letter unique is that Kimberly, also known as” Ms. Santa”, and her special elves deliver their gifts straight to their doorstep. Moore used to pick up the letters at the U.S. Post Office directed to the North Pole, but now she has created her own North Pole Mailboxes in secret locations in highly impoverished areas throughout the community. These boxes constantly change location to give other children a chance to write in and can be found in East LA, City of Industry, Bell Gardens, Compton, Norwalk, Watts and many more locations. Moore, then collects the letters and uploads them to her Adopt A Letter website and get’s other people to adopt them. Donors can either buy the gifts themselves and bring them to one of their sponsored drop off locations or if one is too busy, they can choose to purchase the amount needed to grant that wish and Moore will actually go out and purchase the gift for the specific child herself.
Moore spends weeks on end shopping from morning until night wrapping and preparing boxes with her volunteers. Moore is known to be quite generous when it comes to granting wishes for her Adopt A Letter kids. Moore says, “When you read these letters, it is hard for you to turn your back, these kids are not just asking for toys, but they are asking for food, school supplies, blankets, warm coats and shoes because their parents are struggling or out of work. Some are asking Santa for better living conditions, work for their parents and not necessarily anything for themselves. Online we ask for just the basics since it’s much more affordable for the donor and then we rely on others to host toy drives for “Adopt A Letter” around town. The extra toys and basic necessities we use as box-stuffers to make the experience even more grand for the child when we surprise them at their homes. The look on these children’s faces is unlike anything I have ever experienced, some are so happy jumping up and down, others are speechless and some are so emotional they begin to cry. I can hardly hold back the tears in my eyes each time I see a child or parent cry. The parents usually asked who sent us, but I trained everyone to say “Santa” and then we leave. The parents and children are so grateful, I know they will remember this day for the rest of their lives and so will we. Our lives are just as impacted!”
Moore talks about the importance of hope and how a small simple gesture of kindness and can open up their hearts and impact their lives forever. The Adopt A Letter program would like to thank The Echelon Club, Brits in LA, Jentanna Dabbs from Over 40 Females and Lexus of Santa Monica for hosting a Christmas” toy drive” and a “basic necessity drive” for the children in the community. With their help, the Adopt A Letter program was able to visit and surprise 30 children at their homes for a little over a month.
This years letters were a little more emotional than last year due to the economic recession. Moore says, “Families are really struggling more than ever this year, some lived in 1 bedroom apartments with 2 or 3 other families, some families were evicted from their homes and were no longer there when we arrived, it was heart breaking! Others struggled to pay the bills and had very little food or no electricity. Little Jose wrote a letter to us and was living in an 8ff x 12ft room with his mother and father, they had one single bed and I still can’t figure out how they all slept at night. We were so disturbed when we left, we had to come back the next day with more basic necessities than they asked for otherwise we couldn’t sleep. One of my volunteers was so overwhelmed with emotion, she even reached out in her purse and gave the mom $100.”
The Adopt A Letter program provided groceries to distressed families, clothes for school, school supplies and toys for children who were sure not able to have a Christmas this year. Many of the parents were overwhelmed with joy even offered ways to repay them by cooking a meal for some of the volunteers. Moore would like to thank all her volunteers and “Hope Ambassadors”: Dominic Luna, Maurice Turner, Denise Lopez and Laura Lopez who helped in making dreams come true. This years volunteers include: Rick Vanderkleijn, Issac Mathew White, Raul Pena, Vanessa Alva, Ceila Wise, Loralyn Peterson, Esmeralda De Pal, Barbara DeVorzon, Gretchen M. and Paulie Orchon.
The Kimberly Moore Foundation plans to continue to answer letters outside of Christmas through it’s Adopt A Letter program and is currently creating a new programs for selected children who have received assistance from the program. The new program will launch in March 2013 and will provide mentoring, leadership and internship programs for teenagers so that children can gain real life work experience in their expected career field.
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To learn more about the Adopt A Letter program visit: http://www.adoptaletter.org