Macy’s kicks off their holiday season with the seventh annual nationwide “Believe” campaign, Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. This event is an opportunity for children of all ages to bring their stamped letters addressed to “Santa at the North Pole” to their nearest Macy’s store. “Believers” have through Dec. 24 to send their wish list to Santa. Customers can also email a letter to Santa via the Believe section of the Macy’s website. For every stamped letter Macy’s receives during the holiday campaign, the store will donate $1 to the organization that believes in granting wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions, the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Since it began, the Believe campaign has raised more than $8.7 million for Make-A-Wish to help children’s wishes come true throughout the United States. The headquarters for Make-A-Wish America is in Phoenix, AZ. Every state has at least one chapter and several states have more than one. Each chapter takes care of granting wishes in that geographic area. Since its founding in 1980, at least 218,000 wishes have been granted nationwide with one wish being fulfilled every 38 minutes.
The Southern Nevada chapter and Bozarth Elementary School are having a special kick-off event in Las Vegas, Nov. 7. The new Downtown Summerlin mall will be filled with 200 fifth-grade students wearing elf hats as they deliver 1,000 letters from their school to Santa. The Bozarth Elementary School choir will sing carols as the letters are delivered.
Bozarth is a partner in the Kids for Wish Kids program that is part of Make-A-Wish. This illustrates how committed the students are to Macy’s holiday campaign and how much they believe in the work of Make-A-Wish. In the Kids for Wish Kids program, students are encouraged to select and plan their own fundraising project. They manage it from start to finish and, in the process, learn leadership skills, teamwork, self-esteem, and the value of making a positive difference in another child’s life. The program encourages students to become involved in their community, to develop an awareness of the mission of Make-A-Wish, and to set a common goal with other students as they work together to achieve it.
The inspiration for the Macy’s Believe campaign came from the letter written by an 8-year-old girl, Virginia O’Hanlon, in 1897, to the New York Sun. She wanted to know if Santa Claus was real. The editor, Francis P. Church, replied with the most recognized and most reprinted editorial ever written for any English language paper. “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist.”
Granting wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions often provides a turning point in their illness. The wish and medicine combine to help them feel better physically and emotionally. The wishes range from meeting a favorite celebrity, visiting a specific location, sitting in a broadcast booth, and many others. When the children get older, many have said that the wish experience contributed to their recovery. As this year’s Macy’s holiday campaign unfolds, it does so knowing that children, as well as adults, take away something positive to believe in and remember through the wish-granting organization of Make-A-Wish.
By Cynthia Collins
Top Photo Credit: Martin Durrschnabel, Creative Commons license
Inset Photo Credit: Steve Moskowitz, Creativecommons Creative Commons license