As her family was struggling financially and was unable to afford a big Christmas celebration, all that 5-year-old Helen Berence Cardenas de Reyes wanted, when she wrote a Christmas message to Santa, was a doll, some clothes and a pair of shoes.
Helen Berence Cardenas de Reyes from Auburn, Washington, attached her frugal Christmas list to two balloons and set it off hoping it would somehow reach Santa in the North Pole.
Julie Sanders and her son discovered the scrap of paper while they were out on their quad bikes near their home in Laytonville, California.
Although Helen’s letter was written in Spanish they could tell it was a Christmas list and could make out a few words.
So Julie Sanders asked a ranch hand to translate the rest of note.
Julie Sanders told ABC news: “The fact that she asked for a doll, some pants, boots and nothing materialistic, I just knew it was a family in need.
“I thought if I we can get a hold of them we can make sure there is something for her under the tree for Christmas.”
Julie Sanders decided to get on the phone and called up the family.
She found out that Helen’s mother is injured and her father had struggled to find any work at all this year.
Little Helen sent her letter on December 2, which is a particularly emotional date for Julie Sanders as it is the birthday of her brother, who passed away a few years ago.
So kind-hearted Julie Sanders headed to the shops and bought little Helen a few outfits and toys.
Julie Sanders addressed the package from Santa and sent it special delivery so it could be under the girl’s tree in time for Christmas.
Dennis Dodds, a family friend of the Sanders was also there when they found the balloon message.
He told ABC: “Laytonville is a small timber industry town that has lost its mill. People here know what it is like to struggle around the holidays. It is always good to pay it forward.
“We’ve been in that situation ourselves, I know what it feels like,’ said Sanderson ‘but now we are in the position to help so it really felt good to help this little girl.”
Helen’s mother, Rosa Cardenas de Reyes, said she helped send the note.
The mother said: “I didn’t know what to do.
“So I always told her we would send a balloon to Santa because that was a tradition when I was little.”