Children have been writing letters to Santa Claus for generations, but this 7-year-old boy's note is a bit different. Blake is living with his mother in a Texas domestic violence shelter, and asked St. Nick to bring him a "very, very good dad" for the holiday.
"Dear Santa, We had to leave our house. Dad was mad. We had to do all the chores. Dad got everything he wanted," Blake wrote in a handwritten letter posted on Facebook by SafeHaven of Tarrant County, the nonprofit agency helping his family. "Mom said it was time to leave and she would take us to a safer place where we don't have to be scared."
Blake and his mother arrived at the shelter before Thanksgiving, Micah Thompson, the organization's director of marketing, told CBS News. The boy's mom found the letter a few weeks ago in his backpack, according to the Facebook post.
"I'm still nervouse [sic]. I don't want to talk to the other kids," he continued in the note. "Are you going to come this christmas [sic]? We don't have any of our stuff here. Can you bring some chapter books, a dictionary, and a compass and a watch? I also want a very very very good dad. Can you do that too?"
Thompson explained that staff often find notes similar to Blake's from other kids, but chose to post this one in particular. The letter, "was an emotional mix of a normal kid asking for his wishes from Santa but also explaining what it's like to be a child who is away from home in a scary place for the holidays," she added.
While the families may not be in their original home, the nonprofit facilitates events and programs to ensure kids feel the holiday cheer. One program dubbed "Santa's Sack" asks residents from the county to donate gifts for the children. Then, the organization creates a "toy shop," where the mothers can shop for free for presents.
Thanks to the donations, Blake will get a large part of his Christmas request this holiday. "This year we received more than 10,000 donated gifts, so rest assured that Blake is going to have everything he asked for and more for the holidays," Thompson said. "In the same program we set up a store in shelter where the kiddos can shop for their mom!"
Thompson said 1,400 women and children of all ages came through SafeHaven of Tarrant County's shelters in 2018.
"We have babies who are born while a mom is staying in shelter, so we have newborn all the way up to 18 years old staying with mom," Thompson told CBS News. She added that there are more kids than moms in the shelters, as women often bring multiple children with them.