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Christmas wish answered by Carterville volunteers

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CARTERVILLE (WSIL) -- Some are calling it a Christmas miracle with a small group of volunteers stepping up to help a local family.

Those volunteers were sifting through and answering hundreds of letters from children to Santa Claus that were dropped in a holiday mailbox downtown.

Mayor Brad Robinson says that's when one of the letters in particular caught their eye.

"This one was obviously from an adult and it was from the heart," Robinson explains. "It was somebody who is in pain."

In the letter to Santa, a woman described the loss of her brother this year right around the time of her birthday.

"But a lot of the letter was just wishing that her brother's children and widow could get a leg up and have a good Christmas," the mayor says.

Volunteers, some with the city and others just local residents, wanting to do something to help.

"It touched all of our hearts," Robinson recalls. "It was something that we felt like we wanted to be a part of making their Christmas a little better."

Volunteers were inspired by a movie called 'The Christmas Jar' they had been watching weeks before finding the letter.

In the film, money is collected throughout the year. The funds are then put in a jar and left anonymously on a door step of someone in need.

That's exactly what volunteers did for this woman on Christmas Eve.

"Hopefully knowing that some strangers recognized that they were hurting and wanted to do something to just make their day better, their year better, their world better," Robinson says. "Hopefully it brings some joy back."

However, volunteers didn't stop there. The letter mentioned not being able to afford a headstone for their brother after paying for a funeral.

The group then contacted Scott Patterson, owner of American Monument Company, who was more than happy to help.

"I have two or three monuments, markers in mind that I'm going to help out with this family," he says.

Patterson considers the volunteers' random act of kindness, a Christmas miracle.

"This is more than Santa, this comes down to the reason for the Christmas season," he explains. "It's God, and that's where my blessings have come from.

Patterson says he's considering starting his own "Christmas jar" of the sorts by donating a headstone to a family in need every year going forward.

Brooke Schlyer

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