A little boy who is living in a domestic violence shelter with his mother recently penned a heartbreaking letter to Santa Claus, asking him to bring him a “very good dad” this holiday season, the shelter said.
The emotional note, written by a 7-year-old boy identified as Blake, was shared via SafeHaven of Tarrant County’s Facebook page on Wednesday.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based shelter explained in the post that Blake’s mom discovered the handwritten letter in her child’s backpack just a few weeks ago.
“Dear Santa,” the letter began. “We had to leave our house. Dad was mad. We had to do all the chores. Dad got everything he wanted. Mom said it was time to leave and she would take us to a safer place where we don’t have to be scared.”
“I’m still nervous. I don’t want to talk to the other kids,” Blake continued. “Are you going to come this Christmas? We don’t have any of our stuff here. Can you bring some chapter books, a dictionary, and a compass and watch?”
“I also want a very, very, very good dad,” he added. “Can you do that, too?”
Then he signed the letter, “Love, Blake.”
The shelter said in the post, “Thanks to your donations through Santa’s Sack, Blake is getting exactly what he asked for from Santa. But with 117 women and children needing shelter this holiday season, we need your help to make sure they have a safe place to stay throughout December.”
When contacted by PEOPLE, Micah Thompson, the director of marketing at SafeHaven of Tarrant County, confirmed that the letter was real and posted with the permission of the mother and son, but could not disclose any other information to protect their identity.
In the wake of the post, an outpouring of support came in for Blake, his mother, and the rest of the people in need, with many asking how they could help. Others became concerned that by publicly posting the note, it would compromise the safety of the Blake and his mother.
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However, shelter officials confirmed not long after that the pair were not in any harm.
“We so appreciate everyone’s concern over the safety of Blake and his family,” the shelter wrote on Facebook. “Victim safety has been our priority for over 40 years, and we would never compromise that through a social media post or otherwise. Blake and his mom are safe! Thank you for your concern for his family.”
Thompson echoed those sentiments, telling PEOPLE, “Blake and his mom obviously had no idea how much attention this letter would receive. We’ve stayed in contact with his mom throughout the last 24 hours, and she made Blake aware. I don’t think he fully understands because of his age, but he thinks it’s pretty cool!”
“We’ve shared a lot of the stories with his mom and she is very overwhelmed with the support,” he adds. “Sometimes all our clients want is a cheerleader, and Blake and his mom have thousands of cheerleaders across the country now.”
For those interested in helping the other residents at SafeHaven of Tarrant County, you can donate to the shelter here.
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.