LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – This year the North Pole said jobs and houses are at the top of the list for many East Texas children.
The Lufkin U.S. Post Office off Loop 287 on Old Union Road said many letters to Santa are asking for basic necessities rather than Barbies and iPods.
Saint Nick and his helpers said they're convinced the recession is still here.
Michael Maxey has a special job -- he helps Santa.
"I've been doing this for about two years," said Maxey, an administrative assistant at the Lufkin Old Union Road Post Office. "[Santa] sends the elf, I'll give the elf the letters, Santa actually writes the letters and brings them back to the post office and then we dispatch them the following day."
Maxey sees about 15 letters headed to the North Pole every day and said some of the things East Texas kids are asking for indicate the recession is still alive in the area.
"A lot of kids that their families have been affected by the economy are asking for basically shoes, jackets, clothes," explained Maxey. "I had one letter, really touching, the little girl was asking for Santa to help find her mom a job, so you know, it's really tough out there."
He said children are asking for basic necessities.
"Kids are saying, you know, maybe Santa can you help us find a home we're living with grandma and grandpa," Maxey said.
Kids in Lufkin are still asking Santa for the big stuff, but it's evident some are hurting.
"A few kids have asked, you know, take care of mommy and that sort of thing and I do appreciate them asking that because I mean I feel sorry for the kids," said Santa Claus at the Lufkin Mall.
Holiday helpers said this year is worse than last.
"We were asking for the iPods and Playstation games and all those big electronics, not so much this year, a big decline," Maxey said.
It's tough to see kids suffering around the holidays, but Maxey puts in an extra wish for them to Santa.
"I'm just glad that I'm able to do my part, you know, in working with the elves and Santa and trying to make sure that these wishes and dreams are answered," Maxey said.
By the way, letters sent to Santa are answered with help from North Pole helpers like Maxey.