Buzz words

Mark Janda and his cat Buzz

A USPS employee in Minneapolis recently turned to a familiar postal product to find his lost cat: Every Door Direct Mail.

Mark Janda, Northland District’s marketing manager, and his family spent several frantic days searching for their pet Buzz, who had disappeared somewhere in the neighborhood.

The furry feline might never have been found if Janda hadn’t used Every Door Direct Mail to distribute a mailpiece with Buzz’s photo, description and the family’s contact information.

“That got his picture and story into all of the homes in the neighborhood, not just those neighbors I talked to personally,” Janda said. “There are about 550 deliveries on the route, and my mailing generated probably 10 leads.”

One neighbor found Buzz, and because of the mailing, knew how to reunite the cat with Janda.

The postal employee is thankful to the neighbor, as well as co-worker Dan Mooney, the district’s retail manager, who came up with the idea of using Every Door Direct Mail in the first place.

“As he and I talked about the situation it dawned on me that … Every Door Direct Mail would be a great opportunity to target his neighborhood with a picture or two of Buzz with contact information,” Mooney said. “He could make up the flier himself and it would be a quick, inexpensive way to get the word out.”

Janda sees Buzz’s return as another Every Door Direct Mail success story.

“It may have happened anyway, but to my mind, Every Door Direct Mail made the difference, and that makes my wife and me very happy,” Janda said.

Last stop

Undelivered mail items

When a mailpiece is undeliverable, it ends up at the Mail Recovery Center (MRC), where Postal Service employees do what they can to figure out where it is supposed to be delivered.

“We get mailpieces that are deemed undeliverable. They are often damaged, can’t be delivered through the normal process or have label problems. Sometimes the contents are no longer with the box,” said Asset Performance and Accountability Manager Leslie Lissimore, who oversees the MRC. “We represent the last opportunity to complete the Postal Service’s mission to deliver.”

Last year, more than 68 million mailpieces came to the center, which is located in Atlanta.

“The Mail Recovery Center employees are the only ones authorized to open mail. We look to make sure we haven’t been sent mail that can still be in the mail stream. We look to see if there is something that we can use to contact the recipient,” Lissimore said. “We have criteria for what we hold and what we don’t hold.”

But, Lissimore said, the MRC is receiving more and more items that it shouldn’t be getting.

“We are seeing an increase in hazardous material coming to us. This puts good mail in danger and it costs more money to have it handled at the MRC,” she said.

Lissimore wants to remind Postal Service facilities not to send the following items to the MRC:

  • Trash
  • Food
  • Unopened retail Postal Service products
  • Hazardous material, such as batteries and light bulbs
  • Detergents and cleaning products

The MRC Blue page has lists of mail matter that shouldn’t be sent to the center.

The Postal Operations Manual outlines additional policies for how to handle undeliverable mail. Additionally, facilities can go to the Sustainability Blue page for information on how to handle hazardous materials.

“We are getting things we shouldn’t have to touch and that really impacts our operation,” Lissimore said.

Cards for Drake

A Louisiana boy who has terminal cancer wants to receive greeting cards for Christmas — and people from around the world are responding to his request.

Drake Quibodeaux, 8, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma in March.

A family friend suggested filling Drake’s mailbox with cards would lift his spirits, so his mom went on Facebook and posted a request that went viral.

Although Drake requested 190 cards, he has received more than 8,000 pieces of mail and several packages, according to Vinton, LA, Postmaster Trish Chenevert, whose office serves the route where the Quibodeaux family lives.

“Every day, people are contacting him. It’s such a wonderful outpouring of love and compassion,” Chenevert said.

Lisa Langley, a rural carrier who delivers to Drake’s home, appeared with him during a report on the local NBC station this week to talk about the response to his request.

“This is the most mail I have ever delivered,” Langley said.

Danielle Quibodeaux, Drake’s mom, told the station that his request is “not about presents. … It’s about letting him know the community loves him and they’re behind him.”

Drake, who enjoys hunting, fishing and Louisiana State University football, joins Maddox Hyde, a terminally ill Pennsylvania teenager who also is seeking mail this Christmas.

Viral mail requests have grown more common on social media in recent years, offering a new way to bridge digital and physical communications.

News organizations have published the address for those who wish to send cards to Drake: 2412 Hwy 388, Vinton, LA 70668.

Help is here

Employee Assistance Program

The Postal Service wants you to remember that counseling and other services are available during the holidays — and all year long — through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

If you need to talk to someone, you can call EAP’s toll-free number at 800-327-4968 (800-EAP-4YOU). The TTY number is 877-492-7341.

Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

“The holidays are a challenging time for many people. It’s important to take care of yourself. If you need help, the Employee Assistance Program is here for you,” said Deborah Atkins, the EAP administrator.

The EAP site offers other resources, including online counseling and self-help tools.

Need to know

Scanning

Scanning snapshot. The Postal Service’s national scanning rating was 97.27 percent during the week ending Dec. 7, up from one week earlier.

Dakotas (98.72 percent) topped the districts, while Western (97.75 percent) led the areas.

Scanning allows customers to track their packages and mail, and it helps USPS improve efficiency and network management.

To see the latest results, go to the Informed Visibility site and select “Customer Experience,” followed by “DES 2 Scan Performance.”

Cybersecurity materials available. The Postal Service marked National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October with a fair at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC, where attendees learned more about protecting the organization’s networks, systems and information.

The CyberSafe at USPS Blue page has an overview of the fair, as well as materials that employees at other facilities can download to spread the word about importance of cybersecurity.

The CyberSafe at USPS LiteBlue page and USPSCyberSafe.com also have resources for employees.

Got news for “Need to know”? Email your submissions to uspslink@usps.gov.