NewsLocal NewsWe See You


We See You: KC area groups relying on power of penmanship for holiday normalcy

olathe letters for santa.jpeg
Posted at 5:59 AM, Dec 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-08 09:54:15-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Groups in the Kansas City area are relying on an old technique to bring a new smile to someone’s face during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In Olathe, Kansas, the city had to cancel its traditional events where Santa Claus visits children.

Instead, it began collecting letters to send to Santa. The big man and his elf collect the letters once a week and read a few in videos the city posts on its social media pages.

“They’re still getting to make sure Santa knows what they want and then we get busy working on those toys for them,” Santa said during a recent stop in Olathe. “It’s just a great way to keep the spirit of Christmas and the joy that comes from this season.”

Across town, in Lake Lotawana, Missouri, anyone can drop off letters for the elderly at The Lottie Coffee and Cone.

Amber O’Hara lives near the coffee and ice cream shop and also works at EML Payments.

The global payment processing company has a “change for good” campaign where it encourages volunteerism, philanthropy and supporting environmental causes. This year, O’Hara suggested all her coworkers write letters to people living in long-term care facilities who have been isolated throughout the pandemic.

She found an organization called “Love for our Elders,” which will distribute the letters to seniors across the country.

“I hope it puts some goodness back in the world this year and I think everyone can appreciate we all need it right now,” O’Hara said.

Her boss, the CEO of EML’s Kansas City branch, Ailie Kofoid, recently moved her own mother to a long-term care facility, so she jumped on the idea.

“It’s the idea of opening something and someone out there is thinking of you. Even if they don’t know you, they’re thinking about the situation you’re in,” Kofoid said.

In a year where nearly everyone has been in an unsure situation, writing or reading a letter could offer a few moments of peace.

The Lottie will be collecting letters through the end of the month. It is located at 9502 Lake Lotawana Rd., Lake Lotawana, MO 64086.

The city of Olathe is accepting letters to Santa until Christmas Eve at six different locations:

  • 119th HyVee – 18101 W. 119th St.
  • 151st HyVee – 14955 151st St.
  • Indian Creek Library – 16100 W. 135th St.
  • Olathe Public Library (Temporary Location) – 1078A W. Santa Fe St.
  • Olathe Community Center – 1205 E. Kansas City Rd.
  • Olathe City Hall – 100 E. Santa Fe St.

In the Northland, a woman is collecting letters to Santa at her home: 319 NW 110th Terrace, Kansas City, MO.

During the pandemic, 41 Action News wants to spotlight people, organizations and companies helping the community. To share these stories, use #WeSeeYouKSHB on social media.