CHICAGO (CBS) — Time is growing short for people who want to play Santa under a program run by the U.S. Postal Service.

WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, so far, Chicago’s post office has received more than 15,000 letters to Santa from needy kids and families, and they’re still coming.

Postal Service spokesman Mark Reynolds said some of the letters are heart-breaking.

“We see people who tell us that they’ve just been really down on their luck. They haven’t had a job for a long time, there are health issues happening, and all they want is to make the kids happy, to let them believe in Santa Claus a little bit,” he said.

So far, only a few hundred people have picked up letters to play Santa’s helpers.

The letters are available at the Operation Santa station at the Main Post Office at 433 W. Harrison St. through Saturday, Dec. 22.

Read more about Operation Santa here.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger Reports