Santa For A Day launches, partners with CHA to make Christmas special for 1,700 public housing children


“Everybody will get something”

CHICAGO (Dec. 7, 2018) – (RealEstateRama) — About 10 years ago, independent television producer Rich Gentile happened upon a local post office when he noticed thousands of children’s letters written to Santa Claus. The public was encouraged to pick a letter they liked, and fulfill a gift request.

“There were about 10,000 letters there,” Gentile said. “I asked how many letters get answered, and they said: ‘About 100,’ I thought, ‘That’s horrible.’ ”

So, Gentile decided to do something about it. He established “Santa For A Day” – a website launched this week that connects retailers with donors to grant children Christmas gifts.

And thanks to a partnership with CHA, about 1,700 public housing children will benefit.

“It’s amazing,” said CHA Chief Operating Officer José R. Alvarez. “What it means for our families is that these individuals are going to be able to have a good Christmas.”

The CHA children wrote their letters to Santa last month. Some were asked where Santa puts all those letters.

“(Santa) has a big drawer. And he puts all the letters in each drawer,” said Zamariana Lawson, one of hundreds who wrote one.

All the letters will be collected and scanned onto the Santa for a Day website, which will include a link to three gift items. Once posted, the public can simply purchase a gift for a CHA child by clicking on the link.

“We are going to fulfill as much as we can. Everybody will get something,” Gentile said. “It’s a way of providing hope. I think these kids need hope.”

Gifts are expected to be distributed the week of Dec. 17.

If interested in purchasing a gift for a CHA child, click


About Santa For A Day: There are needy children writing letters to Santa this season, whose wishes will go unanswered – unless you step in. Here’s how. Santa For A Day is just that: a means for people who “have” to become Santa for kids who have not. Our aim is to reach into Chicago’s most troubled areas and by example show the power of goodness in the face of adversity. Santa for a Day is collecting letters from nearly 2,000 underprivileged kids living in Chicago. We have a website on which you can make their dreams come true on Christmas morning – browse letters, gifts, or simply let Santa decide – but most important is the joy you can bring, where it otherwise might not happen. We’re a non-profit, so your generosity goes straight to the children.

About the CHA: The Chicago Housing Authority is the second-largest public housing agency in the nation, providing safe, stable and affordable housing to approximately 64,000 low-income families and individuals at family, senior, scattered site and mixed-income properties and through the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program that enables families to rent in the private market, while supporting healthy communities in neighborhoods throughout the city. CHA has utilized the flexibility of the Moving to Work agreement to test innovative, locally-designed strategies that use federal dollars to more efficiently help residents become self-sufficient and to increase housing choices for low-income families.

Press contacts:
Office of Communications – Chicago Housing Authority
Molly Sullivan: (312) 786-3344;
Matthew Aguilar: (312) 935-2646;

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