SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Located in a neighborhood of Fern Park in Seminole County is a special mailbox but not just any mailbox, it’s for the jolly man in red: Santa Claus.
“We really wanted to provide hope for the kids in our community and central Florida as a whole,” Yolonda Tyler, creator of the mailbox said.
Yolonda and her 14-year-old daughter, Amaya, are also Santa’s elves.
“I know personally hearing from other kids in the community knowing that they’re not having other festivities maybe even family gatherings this year as well. So this has been really cool to give them,” Amaya Tyler said.
They bring out a red mailbox for letters to Santa four days a week--even adding a basket with notecards and pencils so that kids in their Highland Pines neighborhood get a chance to send their wishes to Saint Nick.
“We know that there are a lot of events that have been canceled due to COVID and some kids won’t be able to go see Santa for one reason or another,” Yolonda said. “We still wanted to provide kids a way to have that connection with Santa.”
The idea was crafted after the mother-daughter duo set up a Little Free Library near the Kewanee trail in Fern Park.
“We’ve always wanted to do different community outreach things so this has been really cool to do something specifically for my own neighborhood,” Amaya said.
As they go through the letters that have already been dropped into the mailbox, Yolonda says some are heartfelt.
“It’s always interesting to see wishes from people who are in need or just are in need of some magic,” Yolonda said. “We had a little one say that for their family they wanted peace. So that struck Amaya and I, you know, in our hearts.”
And after Santa has received the letters, the elves get to work--with words of encouragement.
“We just really would like for people to understand that you know, there is peace, there is magic and there’s still hope,” Yolonda, said, adding her intentions are also helping shape her daughter into a compassionate person.
“Whenever I do things like this I really try to involve her with everything,” she said. “I think it’s important for her as a young lady-- as a girl in the past-- to understand the importance of giving back to your community and people as a whole. I’ve seen over the years that she’s embraced that.”
For children dropping off their letters to Santa in the mailbox off Waverly Drive in Highland Park, make sure to include an email address to receive a response.
You can follow the Little Free Library/ Santa mailbox on FB and Instagram @littlefreelibrary105142.