Steadfast service

As the nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic evolves — disrupting daily life from coast to coast — Postal Service employees are continuing to proudly serve their communities, reinforcing the fact that USPS is part of America’s critical infrastructure.

“People are depending on us,” said Joseph Kittles, a mail handler at the Northern Virginia Processing and Distribution Center in Merrifield.

Kittles knows that the pandemic means customers are relying on the Postal Service more than ever to deliver medicine and supplies, as well as cards and letters ­— which help isolated people stay connected, especially those who don’t use social media.

He understands that he and his colleagues are providing an essential public service, just like law enforcement officers, emergency responders and health care providers.

“It’s a blessing when you can come home and see your mail,” Kittles said. “I want that for myself and for everyone else.”

Kelly Briscoe, a letter carrier in Lexington, KY, knows that customers not only appreciate getting their mail, they appreciate seeing the men and women who deliver it, too.

“It’s great that I’m able to serve the public at a time like this,” Briscoe said. “It’s reassuring for customers when they see us out there in their neighborhoods. It’s a sign of normalcy.”

With many older customers on his route having to be especially cautious about leaving their homes during the pandemic, “I might be the only person they see,” Briscoe said. “They’re glad I’m there, and I have a sense of pride knowing I’m keeping an eye on them.”

In Edgewater, FL, a customer on Rural Carrier Angel Bodien’s route recently showed that mail delivery is reassuring for younger customers, too. The man brought his two children, 7 and 9 years old, outside when Bodien was at their mailbox.

“He told them, ‘Meet the mail lady,’” she recalled. “‘As long as the mail is running, everything will be fine. The world is going to be OK.’”

“It really does make you feel good when you’re out there working and people appreciate what you’re doing,” Bodien said.

Rachel Garner, a rural carrier in Abbeville, SC, also felt appreciated recently by a family on her route, without even seeing them.

They left Garner a small care package of rubber gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes in their mailbox along with a handwritten note: “Please be safe.”

It’s the type of gesture that makes Garner optimistic about the future.

“The Postal Service has gotten through challenges before,” she said. “I’m confident we’ll get through this.”

USPS employees are also finding ways to show their appreciation for others.

Andy Derrick, a letter carrier in Little Rock, AR, wanted to do something special for the employees of a favorite restaurant, Doe’s Eat Place, as they faced a pandemic shutdown.

Last week, after his final lunch there for the foreseeable future, Derrick left a $2,200 tip — $100 for each of the restaurant’s 22 employees.

“It’s my community. I deliver to them. I know all of them,” he told the local ABC station. “I’m just trying to support them because they support me.”

Paychecks notice

The Postal Service is encouraging employees who don’t use direct deposit to receive their paychecks to sign up as soon as possible to avoid potential network disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

While no disruptions are expected, the organization wants employees to enroll in the direct deposit option as a precaution. Employees who already have direct deposit aren’t required to make changes.

If you currently receive hard copy paychecks, switching to direct deposit will ensure your wages are electronically deposited directly into your personal checking or savings account each payday.

By signing up before Wednesday, March 25, at 4 p.m. Eastern time, you can establish direct deposit and ensure your next paycheck is electronically deposited into your account.

Enrollments submitted after this deadline will continue to be processed but the direct deposit will occur in a later pay cycle.

Paychecks will enter the mailstream beginning Tuesday, March 31, for the Friday, April 3, payday.

To sign up for direct deposit, follow these instructions:

• Go to liteblue.usps.gov and log in if prompted to do so.

• Select PostalEASE under “Employee Quick Apps – Quick Links.”

• In PostalEASE, enter your employee identification number and password. (If you don’t remember your password or need one assigned, select the “forgot password” option and you’ll be transferred to a verification page to obtain a new password.)

• Under the “Payroll” heading, select “Allotments / Payroll Net to Bank” and complete the worksheet.

If you have problems using PostalEASE or have questions, call the Human Resources Shared Service Center at 877-477-3273 and select Option 5, then request “benefits” when prompted. The TTY number is 866-260-7507.