Jim Glaub and Dylan Parker have spent the past six years getting people from around the globe to help them answer hundreds of letters written by families in need to Santa Claus.
It’s a global giving movement, but one neither expected to start when the letters oddly started appearing in the mailbox of their then-apartment in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood. A long way from Santa’s North Pole address, the couple launched a “Miracle on 22nd Street” Facebook group where each year they assign out 400+ letters to those willing to help.
If it sounds like a story out of movie, it’s because it soon will be.
The duo stopped by ABC’s Good Morning America Thursday and revealed that their story will be headed to the big screen — in an adaptation written by Tina Fey!
“The whole time we’ve felt like, ‘We’re in the middle of a movie,’ ” Glaub confessed on GMA. “And yeah — we’re working with Tina Fey to do a movie! ”
Glaub spoke more to PEOPLE about the Christmas tale — though the 36-year-old marketing executive didn’t have details about when exactly the film would hit theaters.
“It’s really cool — she’s been really great,” Glaub said of Fey, whom he got to meet on the set of Fey’s hit Netflix comedy, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
He added that he hopes the film moves even more people into getting involved with his project or other charity movements, like Operation Santa — a project run by the United States Postal Service to help letters written to little St. Nick get answered.
“For me, that’s why it’s so awesome,” he said. “If this movie goes on a national level and becomes a classic — not that it could or will — but the fact that people could be inspired to help families out after seeing the movie will be a real win.”
Now married for four years and living in London, the couple is in touch with the apartment’s current tenant each year to help collect the letters, and a friend locally scans each letter for recording.
So far, not a single letter has gone unanswered since 2010’s first batch — with people from all over the country and the world swooping in to help.
“It’s just so strange! It’s caused this global effort!” Glaub previously told PEOPLE. “We’ve had people from Hawaii to Alaska, Germany to London, Nicaragua, Abu Dhabi, Tokyo — all helping. I guess that’s the power of social media. Why would a woman from Abu Dhabi care about some family from Corona, Queens? It’s amazing.”
“I think that suggests we are all looking for that connection to something bigger,” Parker added.
Neither Glaub nor Parker, 35, have any idea how their address was chosen as the East Coast bureau of the North Pole. Years ago, they explored patterns and connections in the letters — thinking it may have started in a faculty newsletter or church group. There was also speculation that it could be traced back to The Night Before Christmas author Clement Clarke Moore, whose estate was nearby. He had received letters written to Santa after the publication of his classic poem in the 1800s.
While the couple understands the curiosity of knowing how this all began, they have stopped asking those questions themselves.
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“When I look back, I am most surprised about how skeptical I was and how narrowly focused I was on myself,” Parker, who works in scientific publishing, admited: “Perhaps it’s just from getting older since the project started, but I’ve learned that contributing to something greater than ourselves — even if it is something unknown — leads to far more happiness and sense of purpose than solely focusing on our own desires.”
He continued: “That’s not exactly a huge revelation, but this optimizes that lesson at a time when people are often the most giving and the most willing to trust that their generosity will help make someone else’s day just a bit better. It requires that we put ourselves second momentarily to help someone unknown to us, and without the usual gratification of seeing the outcome or receiving thanks. The act of giving itself has to be enough.”
One things for sure – Glaub and Parker will keeping working to get letters answered well after Fey’s movie comes and goes.
“Now it’s gotten to the point where we can’t not do it,” Glaub told PEOPLE. “We have to do it. It’s just part of our lives.”
To get involved with Glaub and Parker’s inspiring project, visit the “Miracle on 22nd Street” Facebook group.