Posted: Dec 9, 2009 8:28 am
Every Christmas, Steve Albini and his wife pack a rented van with clothing, cash and toys, then set out on a journey that would make even Santa Claus jealous.
Using funds raised at an annual Second City charity event, the couple distributes more than $100,000 worth of holiday cheer between about a dozen Chicago-area families -- down-on-their-luck households teetering on the brink of financial ruin.
The donations are, for some families, a life-altering event.
"There's so much money that it can literally save a family's entire year," said Albini, a Chicago musician and recording studio owner who has worked with numerous groups, including Nirvana, the Pixies and Jesus Lizard.
But a policy change by the U.S. Postal Service has Albini looking for new ways to make his makeshift sleigh fly this holiday season. Citing privacy concerns, the Postal Service altered its Letters to Santa program late last year. Instead of providing unedited letters to potential donors, postal workers now black out the names, addresses and phone numbers of people who write to Santa asking for help.