Palmyra local sends personalized letters from Santa to kids all over the world
Palmyra resident Brian O’Sullivan is spreading holiday cheer this year not just in Palmyra, but all over the world. O’Sullivan is working on his fourth annual Letters From Santa campaign.
O’Sullivan started his campaign in 2013. As someone who has struggled with addiction and was extremely thankful for the help he received, he’s now paying it forward by donating all proceeds from his letters to Special Olympics New Jersey.
“So many people were there to help me. Now I want to be one of the people helping others,” O’Sullivan said.
Special Olympics provides leadership opportunity, sports training and health screenings to more than 25,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities. The organization is dedicated to bringing pride into the lives of all involved with the Special Olympics.
For a $5 donation, O’Sullivan will write a personalized letter to be sent to a child and signed by Santa. In addition to the donation, O’Sullivan requests the child’s name, gender, address and the child’s interests or a possible gift Santa will bring. He also accepts requests for specific special notes from Santa to be included in the letters. Once he’s written the personalized letter, O’Sullivan sends it off to North Pole, Alaska, to be mailed back to the child and postmarked from the North Pole.
O’Sullivan says these letters always put a smile on a child’s face because they find out Santa knows who they are and knows personal details about them, and that can be really exciting.
“When you’re that young, you still believe in miracles,” O’Sullivan said.
In his letters, O’Sullivan, or “Santa,” talks about what’s in store on Christmas Eve for Santa, his elves and Mrs. Claus. He reminds children he’s always watching and that they should be good and lend a helping hand wherever needed. He adds that Christmas is not just about getting, but also giving.
O’Sullivan has received orders for his letters from all over the country. He’s even sent them to the United Kingdom and South Africa. In future years, O’Sullivan plans to add videos from Santa as well as Skype and FaceTime with Santa.
In the past four years, O’Sullivan has raised close to $5,000 for Special Olympics New Jersey. In addition to raising funds with his Letters From Santa campaign, O’Sullivan also participates in the Polar Bear Plunge. He took his first plunge in 2014.
New Jersey’s Polar Bear Plunge, whose slogan is “Freezin’ for a Reason,” is a dip into the Atlantic Ocean in the cold winter months to raise money for charities. Participants typically must raise at least $100 toward a charity to participate in the plunge.
“I’m blessed to wake up and have the abilities that I have. I want to see other people treated fairly,” O’Sullivan said. “We’re all different, but we shouldn’t be looked upon as different. We all have the ability to shine and do something great.”
All letter orders must be in by Dec. 1 and can be ordered on Etsy.com by searching “NJ Special Olympics.” For more information, email email@example.com.