COLORADO SPRINGS — The magic of Christmas can bring nothing but smiles to children's faces, and so does a hand-written letter from the North Pole. A group of local seniors wanted to spread holiday cheer to sick children this season and turned into secret Santas for Christmas.
Seniors at Revel Province, an independent living facility in Colorado Springs, took the time to write dozens of letters to send to sick children who have cancer or life threatening illnesses. Frieda Housem was one of them, who wrote letters to a dozen children.
"I tried to start most of them (the letters) with, 'Merry Christmas,' or 'Have you been a good girl or good boy?' and then ending it with a greeting, that Santa would be there pretty soon."
In the letter, Santa let them know he'd be paying a visit very soon. The letters were personalized because parents shared information about their kids with the secret Santas, like what their interests and hobbies are and their favorite subject in school.
"If they liked to read, I would compliment them on it, and encourage them to continue into it," said Housum.
The senior living center partnered with a national organization called HopeKids. The non-profit, based in Arizona, supports sick children across the country and more than 650 kids in Colorado.
"You think about the parents going through this, and the children themselves, to know what they're suffering through, and how hard it is - no child should ever have to do that," said Heather Holland, the executive director at Revel Province. Holland helped coordinate the effort. "To understand they (children) actually get a personalized letter from Santa, and that we had a part in it, and were able to provide joy and cheer during the holiday season, means a lot."
In a year that's seen its fair share of ups and downs, these letters are providing hope for the holidays for more than 250 kids.
"It's so special, particularly this year, because so many of our kids aren't able to go sit on Santa's lap this year. These letters might be their only Santa experience for 2020," said Andrea Lewis, the Family and Community Manager for HopeKids.
The letters were sent and mailed out in time for Christmas. HopeKids supports sick children in Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Kansas, Texas,
"You want to bring joy to them if they don't have it, or lack a little bit of it, and if it cheers them up, I'm all for it," said Housum.
"It means so much to these kids. Their Christmases are limited and so are their families because a lot of spendable income goes toward the child's treatment," said Lewis.