Special mailbox for letters to Santa

Staff Writer
  A lone red mailbox catches the eye of passers by on County Road 285, boldly reading “North Pole, Express Mail”. It sits at the entrance to one of several farms in the area, the one belonging to Lockie Ealy, and the mailbox is her attempt at giving back to the community she’s called home for just over a year.
  “We moved to Liberty Hill in June of 2019. I grew up in a small town in Northeast Texas, and we’ve been in Austin for over 20 years,” she said. “We bought ourselves a house for our 15th anniversary, and this is it. Our end goal was to always get back to small-town life, be able to know all our neighbors, be involved in the community, and slow down.”
  With a farm filled with rescue animals – dogs, cats, a pig, turkeys, peacocks, and chickens, to name a few – it’s clear Ealy can’t resist the pull of her service heart. Feeling the love of her new home, Ealy decided it was time to do her part for others in the community.
  “We have met some wonderful people. We got involved in the football community. Our son wanted to play, so this was his first year playing football, and we just quickly fell in love with this town,” said Ealy. “We fell right back into it. It’s been a good transition and change for us. Because of that, I just wanted to give back to the locals. How can we do something special in this crazy year and show our gratitude to the community.”
  With the support of her husband Warren, a special education para-professional at Liberty Hill High School, some inspiration from a friend, and a bit of fate, Ealy settled on her idea, deciding to set up a North Pole mailbox allowing kids to drop off their letters to Santa, and making sure they get a response.
  “It was not my original idea. I did not come up with this. I have a girlfriend, and she is doing the same thing in her town. I wanted to do something, and I didn’t know what it was,” she said. “I kept seeing these cute mailboxes. When I saw her post about this, I decided that’s what I’m going to do. I pulled into Walmart, and all the decorations were gone except for one red North Pole mailbox.”
  Responding to kids’ letters keeps the joy of Santa alive, giving them a chance to relish the joy of Christmas.
  “The magic of Christmas is what we want to keep alive,” said Ealy. “There’s no Christmas like last year when we watched the Christmas parade and did the whole thing with the community. People are missing that, and if they can get in the car and deliver a letter to Santa, that can keep their spirit alive.”
  Ealy is a board member for Fortune 500, not-for-profit company Thrivent. Thrivent focuses on helping churches and communities. Ealy will have the help of Thrivent action teams to pen the responses to each letter. Ealy’s children, Tristan and Olive, are jumping into the foray and helping their mother’s cause by checking the mailbox as soon as they hop off the bus from school.
  Being somewhat new to the community, Ealy is relying on social media and a few other resources to spread the word.
  “I’ve shared my post. I’ve had people that I’m friends with share it in their communities. I’ve shared the info to Liberty Hill pages,” she said. “I reached out to the elementary school, and they shared it on their Facebook page. My next move is to contact the other schools.”
  Ealy has one goal with her efforts. To bring just a little bit of joy to someone in need. A day after her interview with The Independent, Ealy received her first batch of letters.
  “We finally got our first letters, and it was like my own Christmas morning. They were precious,” she said.
  To drop off a letter to Santa,  head out to 1320 CR 285. It’s impossible to miss the festive front gate. Ealy suggests heading out in the evening to enjoy the decorations in all of their glory.