Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker started receiving the letters back in 2010 after they moved into their apartment on 22nd Street, Manhattan. The men were warned by the previous owners of the apartment about the letters to Santa they received from year to year, but sch a thing did not terrify the couple
“They never answered them because it was only three or four letters a year,” Glaub, 36, told PEOPLE. And the first two years I lived there, it was that exact thing. I’d get three letters and I didn’t really think anything of it. I was like, ‘Oh, sorry — wrong number.’”
By the time Christmas Day 2010 rolled round, the apartment had received more than 450 letters.
The couple made it their mission to reply to every single one. “These were our neighbours in the Bronx, Queens, Manhattan… these were our people,” Glaub says. “I just felt this need to help them.”
They set up a Facebook group, Miracle on 22nd Street, where strangers from all over the world have taken to writing replies. “It’s just so strange! It’s caused this global effort!” Glaub, a marketing executive, says. “We’ve had people from Hawaii to Alaska, Germany to London, Nicaragua, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo — all helping. I guess that’s the power of social media. Why would a woman from Abu Dhabi care about some family from Corona, Queens? It’s amazing. I think that suggests we are all looking for that connection to something bigger,” adds Parker. He says that one letter, from a boy who asked for a bed to sleep in, really “stuck in his gut”.
There’s no rulebook for how each letter is answered. Some fulfil all the requests, while others just get what they can.