USPS To Steve Albini: We Are The Grinch

 

Postal Service effectively
brings the hammer down on the producer’s annual program to distribute gifs to
the needy.

 

By Fred Mills

 

The lights of Christmas dimmed just a bit over the last few
days as word got out that due to a shift in policy by the US Postal Service
regarding kids’ letters to Santa, famed Chicago producer (and Shellac frontman)
Steve Albini might not be able to distribute gifts to needy children as he’s
done in the past.

 

According to a Chicago
Tribune
report Albini, along with his wife, had in years previous taken
clothing, cash and toys around the Chicago
area at Christmastime, having tapped funds raised through a charity. The figure
cited in the report was “more than $100,000” – that’s not just reindeer food.
Albini would obtain letters to Santa – not specifically children’s, but from
families asking for help – from the USPS and determine which families were the
neediest.

 

Albini told a reporter, “There’s so much money that it
can literally save a family’s entire year.” He and his wife would personally
deliver the items on Christmas day, surprising the recipients “with no strings
attached.”

 

What’s now happened, however, is that the USPS has changed
its policy as regards issues of privacy, meaning that they black out names and
addresses on the Santa-bound letters, and although Albini stressed that he had “only
used letters written by adults” and not children “looking for computer games or
a new scooter,” the policy will be enforced despite his protestations.

 

“Try to imagine how desperate you’d have to be to write
a letter to an anonymous Santa asking for help. That’s how desperate people
are,” Albini said. “I hope the post office can be made to see how
much damage they’re doing and change their policy.”

 

Just the same, the postal service decided to “err on the
side of caution” in the wake of a sex offender in Maryland obtaining a letter written to Santa
by a young girl last year. Albini subsequently contacted his U.S. Representative
Danny Davis but Davis
opted to side with the postal officials, saying “Better to be safe than
sorry, that what my momma used to tell us. You can’t be too protective.”

 

As a result, the Albinis are exploring other options,
including working with the local Jane Addams Hull House Association about determining
who some of the neediest families are. The JAHHA is reportedly soliciting
letters starting today and will work with the Albinis so that they will “have
the same experience they used to have with the post office.”

 

Read the entire, disappointing storey here.

 

(Thanks to Pitchfork and the Daily Swarm for the news tip.)

 

 

 

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