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EDITORIAL: Make a difference by playing Santa for a child in need

Santa and Mrs. Claus in the 2016 McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

Maybe it was career advice that someone gave him. Maybe it was a teacher who told him to get serious about life, or a fellow comedian who gave him a good joke to tell.

Surely, he thought about the moral support he has enjoyed during a career that has spanned more than four decades.

David Letterman likely recalled all of these things last month when he accepted the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.

“I ask myself, ‘how did this happen?’ ” Letterman said. “And I’ll tell you how it happened. It wasn’t because of me. It was because of hundreds and hundreds and perhaps thousands of people who helped me. … And I would just like to say, we have to help each other or nothing will happen.”

Letterman didn’t stop there. One of life’s “absolutely universal” truths, he said, is the great feeling we get when we help other people.

“If you help someone, in any way, big or small, automatically you will feel good about yourself,” he said.

We’re with you, Dave. And in that spirit on this Thanksgiving, we’re asking readers to give a little of their time and $25 or $30 to play Santa for disadvantaged children in the Chicago area by signing up for the Sun-Times Charity Trust “Letters to Santa” program.

EDITORIAL

There is no better feeling than to give a child a joyful, memorable holiday.

We have received letters from more than 10,000 kids in the Chicago area whose families can’t afford to put toys under the tree. To play Santa for them, readers can request letters on our website (seasonofsharing.suntimes.com), by email at elves@suntimes.com or by phone at (312) 321-3114.

If you don’t have time to shop, please consider making a monetary donation, and one of our volunteers will buy gifts and wrap and deliver them on your behalf.

Last year, big-hearted readers made the holidays brighter for 11,116 children from low-income families. Hundreds of people made monetary donations totaling $48,200. That’s $4,200 more than 2015 and $14,000 more than 2014.

We guarantee the kids’ handwritten letters to Santa and the pictures they have drawn will bring a smile to your face.

Leonel, 8, writes: “Is Mrs. Claus okay? If she is I am happy for you. I’m a good boy and if you are still alive I hope you give us presents and my friends have a good brain and they have been nice to me and if there so good can you give them all presents too. I want a remote control car and soccer stickers and some soccer shirts.”

From Yair, 7: I wish I was your helper. When the house is a mess I help my mom clean. When the whole house is clean I make my mom coffee because she loves coffee. Can I please have one Spider man mini mate and one Freddy action figure from 5 nights at Freddy’s.

Abigail, 8: How are you feeling? Do you still love cookies because I do? I am really happy it’s almost Christmas and you come. In my dreams I dream that I’m whit (with) you. I’ve been kind of a good girl. I was wondering if I could get a Gizmo, and a doll and a kit to knit. Have a nice Christmas Eve.

Cayly, 7: I hope you and your family are doing well during the holidays. Do not carry any heavy presents because I do not want you to fall. This year I would like you to bring me a Little Live Pets Snuggles puppy, a Barbi Fashionista Doll or Lego Finds (Friends): New Girls in Town chapter book. Thank you for your kindness and I wish you a merry Christmas.

Aurora, 6: How do you get all the toys? One day can you come to the class? Can I please have a Barbie house … and lite up shoes size 11.

A toy, a pair of shoes or shirt will go a long way for these kids. We’re pretty sure they won’t forget it.

Send letters to: letters@suntimes.com