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Letter to Santa Inspires Austin Businesses to Help Family in Need

Updated: 12/10/2013 10:48 PM
Created: 12/10/2013 9:51 PM KSTP.com
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- Recently a number of local business owners in Austin came together to help a family in need. And it all started with a young girl's touching letter to Santa.

Dear Santa, I am five-years-old and I have been good this year.

Last week, the Oak Park Mall in Austin held its Christmas in the Northwest event.

"Sweet Serendipity decided that we were going to do letters to Santa,” said MaryLynn Chandler, the bridal store’s owner. “One little girl in particular came with her mother and her little brother."

Some nice things I have done are take care of my baby brother.

"She looked at her mom with her big brown eyes and just said 'Mom, we need food,'” Chandler said. “And it chokes me up now just thinking about it. She broke my heart."

I really want a Thomas the Train book.

"At that time I called my fiancé and said, ‘We have to help this family out,’" Chandler said.

Chandler then went around the mall soliciting donations to make the little girl's wishes come true.

"She said, here's the idea that I have and I said, ‘Absolutely, let's do it,’” said Shan Kehret, the mall’s manager.

"There was not a second of doubt or hesitation, everybody was on board right away,” Chandler said.

I really need money for food. A book is Frozen, by Disney. And a thing to wear is a dress.

Together the mall's tenants bought books, Barbies, clothes, toys, and a $200 Hy-Vee gift card for the little girl, her brother, and their parents.

Donors included Sweet Serendipity, A 2 Z Treasures, Two Bears Trading Post, Willow Cove, Gypsy Imports and Consignment, Just for Kix, Party Zone Entertainment, Legacy Comics And Games, Hy-Vee, Younkers, and the Oak Park Mall.

"We all did this together and it just makes us all feel good,” Kehret said. “We were just really happy and it made our Christmas as well."

"That's what we're here for,” Chandler said. “These people come out and they support us little small town businesses, and we're here to support them when they need help."