Photo courtesy Banks Fire District 13

Santa's big day is fast approaching, and when it comes to letters to Santa in the Banks area, another deadline is fast approaching on December 19.

According to a press release from Banks Fire District 13, the Banks Fire District, Banks Volunteer Firefighters Association, and United States Postal Service mail carriers in the Banks area have all partnered with the North Pole in a local effort to get letters to Santa from local children answered in time for Christmas.

The North Pole could not be reached for comment, and this newspaper could not independently verify Santa’s participation in the effort.  

“The Jolly Old Fellow himself has assured us that as long as your letters are in to the Station by Sunday, December 19th, personal replies will be mailed back the week of Christmas,” Banks Fire District said. “So break out the crayons and pencils and let Santa know what is happening with your family as well as what you want for Christmas.”

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Janet Spaulding, a local USPS employee and a volunteer at the Banks Fire District, started the program with the support of fellow volunteer firefighters, stamps donated by Banks’ postmaster and the Banks Volunteer Firefighters Association.

Spaulding stressed the importance of including a return address so that the letters can find their way back to those who wrote them.

At the Banks Fire District offices (13430 NW Main Street), a drop box was set up to receive letters. Letter-writers can also drop their letters off just like they would outgoing mail in their personal mailboxes, but not in larger collection boxes. Those in further-flung locales like Timber and Buxton should consider dropping off their letters to Santa by December 19 in case their mail carrier is not part of the group participating in this year’s program. 

“We were asked to tell you that this year has been hard on Santa too and although all letters will be read, no promises are being made that every request or wish can be granted,” Banks Fire District said. “Please make sure your return address is readable.”

The partnership is a local effort, and not part of the USPS Operation Santa. Returned letters won’t have a North Pole address, but rather from Santa’s temporary location at the Banks Fire District.