Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

A woman with two children waits to receive a box of food assistance from the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida at a mobile food drop event at the Impact Outreach Ministry on April 6, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

After Months of Obstructing Covid Relief, GOP Has Left 'Children Begging Santa for Their Basic Needs'

"We can either have billionaires, or we can make sure all children are fed, with warm beds to sleep in. Pick one. We cannot have both."

Julia Conley

A collection of letters from American children to Santa Claus, sent through the U.S. Postal Service's Operation Santa program and posted on social media Tuesday, revealed the despair millions of children are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic, months after any federal aid has been offered to the public.

Hilary Agro, a PhD student in anthropology at the University of British Columbia, posted images of several letters from children on Twitter. One child asked for a sofa bed for a family's one-room apartment, another requested a new wheelchair, and a third asked for money for his struggling parents. 

"We live in the cruelest country," Agro tweeted. 

The letters come nine months into the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed nearly 270,000 people and has left more than 11 million people unemployed.

A temporary enhanced unemployment benefit of $600 per week had a measurable, positive impact on the number of American households in poverty last spring, but the Republican-led Senate allowed the benefit to expire in July.

As Common Dreams reported last week, food banks across the country are struggling to keep up with demand as more than 50 million Americans are expected to experience food insecurity before the end of the year, while the White House last month issued guidance making it easier for corporate landlords to evict tenants who are struggling to pay rent due to the pandemic.   

Meanwhile, several Covid-19 relief bills including aid for state and local governments, direct payments to American households, and a reinstated enhanced unemployment benefit, have languished on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's desk for months. 

Rep.-elect Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) tweeted that the Operation Santa letters show that "the people of this country NEED a relief check now."

The letters were posted hours after a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced a new $908 billion Covid-19 relief proposal including a $300 federal unemployment benefit for four months, $160 billion for state and local governments, and funding for small businesses, schools, and other sectors. 

Republican lawmakers were already complaining Tuesday about the cost of the bill, the Washington Post reported, and McConnell indicated the package will be passed as part of an omnibus spending bill, allowing the Republicans to limit its size. 

Starting December 4, members of the public will be able to sign up to "adopt" or sponsor children who write to Santa Claus through Operation Santa, but Agro tweeted that simply fulfilling struggling children's holiday wishes won't solve the structural economic issues which have pushed them and their families into poverty in the wealthiest country in the world.

"We can either have billionaires, or we can make sure all children are fed, with warm beds to sleep in," said Agro. "Pick one. We cannot have both."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

ACLU Demands 'Truly Systemic Overhaul' of US Civilian Harm Policies

"While a serious Defense Department focus on civilian harm is long overdue and welcome, it's unclear that this directive will be enough," says director of the legal group's National Security Project.

Jessica Corbett ·


'This Is Not Over': Alaska Supreme Court Rejects Youth Climate Case

"With the state continuing to undermine their health, safety, and futures," said the plaintiffs' lead counsel, "we will evaluate our next steps and will continue to fight for climate justice."

Jessica Corbett ·


Analysis Finds 'Staggering' Rise in Voter Suppression After GOP Restrictions in Georgia

"This is why we are fighting this new law in court," said one voting rights advocate.

Brett Wilkins ·


'Egregious': Pennsylvania Court Strikes Down Mail-In Voting Law

The ruling was stayed pending an appeal to the state's Supreme Court and as one voting advocate put it: "The fight's not over yet, folks."

Julia Conley ·


Big Win for Open Internet as Court Upholds California Net Neutrality Law

One legal advocate called the Ninth Circuit's opinion "a great decision and a major victory for internet users in California and nationwide."

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo