Helping Santa’s NORAD elves.

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Verizon helps volunteers answer kids’ questions related to the most important sleigh ride of the year.

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By: Dave Boerger

“Where is Santa right now?”

“Are my presents getting wet?”

“Do Santa and his reindeer have to wear masks?”

This Christmas Eve, kids can have these and other urgent questions answered thanks to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the support they’ll receive from Verizon for the 18th straight year.

You won’t believe how it all started

Back in 1955, Santa placed a fun message in a Sears Roebuck advertisement in Colorado Springs, CO. The problem was the phone number to Santa was one digit off, so instead of reaching Santa’s elves at Sears Toyland, boys and girls dialed into a number that went to a top secret military line answered by a very confused U.S. Air Force Colonel Harry Shoup.

As he was looking for a way to fix the mix-up, Colonel Shoup, a father of four himself, decided to preserve the spirit of Christmas and respond to the Santa-related calls. Colonel Shoup’s troops were on board with the mission as well and the rest is history. Our servicemen and women at NORAD have been tracking Santa’s sleigh ever since. Sixty-five years later, those calls continue to come in from boys and girls everywhere.

This year, to help expand support for volunteers who want to help in a COVID-19 environment, Verizon will share Apple iPhones preloaded with One Talk Service, creating a virtual hotline allowing NTS volunteers to operate as if they were inside the NORAD call center.

Offsite volunteers utilizing the One Talk technology will begin taking calls at 6 AM ET/3 AM PT on Christmas Eve.