Letter to Santa Inspires Continued Acts of Generosity

Teacher Sandra Chacon had no idea a passing moment of holiday fun would inspire acts of kindness from around the world toward her Bayyari Elementary School students.

Chacon said she had her second graders on her mind when she saw a display inviting people to write letters to Santa Claus when visiting Pinpoint Fayetteville with two of her cousins. Pinpoint, the only pinball establishment of its kind in Arkansas, was established in 2017 and is owned by Bo Counts.

The trio asked an employee about the display, Chacon said, who told them staff usually just read notes placed in the display’s box for fun.

“We had just read ‘The Mitten’ before break,” she said. “The kids were obsessed with Jan Brett's book and how all these animals fit into this teeny, tiny mitten.”

“The Mitten” by Jan Brett was first published in 1989 and is a bestselling retelling of a Ukrainian folktale about how a boy’s lost mitten leads to a winter adventure in which a series of progressively larger woodland animals find shelter in the mitten, ending in a comedic conclusion, according to the book’s description.

A Simple Note

Chacon said she wrote a letter telling Santa her students would enjoy receiving mittens for the holidays.

“Our families aren't always in a position to get their kids all of the appropriate winter weather attire,” she said. “It's not because they're not trying, but gloves get lost...often.”

The teacher said she put the letter out of her mind until Bayyari principal Mary Mullican brought a bag of gloves and mittens to the students’ music class following Thanksgiving break.

“They wrote me a letter back from Santa Claus saying that the elves at Pinpoint had made this letter go out to him quicker, and he wanted to give us one of the first Christmas presents,” Chacon said. “It was unexpected, but also really exciting.”

All 23 of students received gloves or mittens of various colors, which Chacon said she celebrated on her Instagram page. A local broadcast news station saw the post and shared a story about how Pinpoint responded to her letter, setting the stage for even more acts of kindness.

“The class was amazed by the gifts,” Mia said, adding her mittens are pink, white and warm.

The donation of mittens and gloves was followed by an anonymous donation of blankets for each of the students, as well as recent, unnamed donation of a copies of “The Mitten” for all of the students, Chacon said.

Mia said she picked out a blanket with images of dogs on it.

“It looked really cute, and it reminds me of my dog that my mom had to give away,” she said.

The Next Page

Chacon said she’s continued to receive inquiries on how people can support her students from as far away as Australia.

Such community acts of generosity, dedication and collaboration transform challenges into opportunities, ensuring no need goes unmet said Brandolyn Peterson, Bayyari’s assistant principal.

“The collective efforts of parents, teachers, volunteers and local businesses have created a powerful force, providing, not only resources, but also a sense of belonging and shared responsibility,” Peterson said. “Together, we’ve built a foundation of support that’s strengthened our school and continues to enrich the lives of every student.”

Chacon said she’s moved by the generosity others are expressing toward her students.

“When the gloves came in, I tried not to cry," she said. "When the books came in, I was really pushing back the tears."

When one of Chacon’s student said she didn’t have a blanket of her own at home, the teacher couldn’t hold back her emotions any longer and was moved to tears.

“That was it,” she said. “That was the sentence that did it.”

Student learning continues through the experience, Chacon said, who is having students write letters to “The Mitten” author Jan Brett as part of Valentine’s Day-themed learning activities.

“We're still working on capital letters and punctuation and addressing people,” she said. “Hopefully we get a response, and we can add her to the list of people from around the country that are sending us letters for Valentine's Day.”

WATCH: The Video of this Heartwarming Story HERE.