Packed peak

The Postal Service expects to deliver 12 billion mailpieces this holiday season, including 850-950 million packages.

The organization, which released the estimates last week, announced it will expand Sunday delivery, beginning Nov. 28, to locations with high package volume. More than 9.7 million packages are expected to be delivered each Sunday throughout the holiday season.

Additionally, USPS said it expects customer traffic at all Post Office locations will steadily increase, beginning the week of Dec. 6.

The week of Dec. 13-18 is anticipated to be the busiest mailing, shipping and delivery week. Nearly 2.3 billion First-Class Mail pieces, including greeting cards and packages, are expected to be processed and delivered that week.

The organization, which  is encouraging customers to use for their at-home shipping options, estimates nearly 500,000 consumers will use the Click-N-Ship feature and other online services on Dec. 14 to order free Priority Mail boxes, print shipping labels, purchase postage and request free Package Pickup.

Dec. 19 is predicted to be the Postal Service’s busiest day online, with more than 12.5 million consumers expected to go to for help shipping their holiday gifts.

The Postal Service also expects to process more than 12.6 million pounds of overseas mail for U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of State recipients. Both agencies measure mail volumes in pounds, not pieces.

To prepare for this year’s peak season — the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day — USPS is leasing 7.5 million square feet of additional space in more than 40 annexes to handle the package increase.

The Postal Service is currently hiring for more than 40,000 seasonal positions to help process and deliver the mail.

Since April, the organization has installed 92 of 112 new package sorting machines, reflecting the Delivering for America plan for $40 billion in investments during the next decade.

Additionally, more than 50 machines that can sort large packages are expected to be up and running before December. The new machinery gives the Postal Service the capacity to process an additional 4.5 million packages each day.

The 2020 holiday season was a record-setting year for the Postal Service, with more than 13 billion letters, cards and packages processed and delivered.

Special effects

A new Postal Service video takes viewers behind the scenes during the filming of this year’s holiday television commercial.

The video features employees who appear in the ad, including Stephanie Maldonado, a Jensen Beach, FL, letter carrier, who says making the commercial was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I’m going to hold onto this memory forever,” she says.

The commercial — titled “The Helpers” — also showcases the technology that goes into delivering mail and packages, as well as USPS employees who work in postal plants.

Holli Wood, a Carmel, IN, letter carrier, says she responded to the Postal Service’s casting call this year because she thought “it would be a real honor to represent the Post Office [and the] job that I do, because I love my job so much.”

James Keller, a Pasadena, CA, letter carrier, appears in the commercial, as well as some print ads.

“I was told to stand very still and smile very big,” he says.

How does he expect his customers to respond to his moment in the spotlight?

“I do think a lot of my customers will be very excited to see me on the screen,” he says.

Growing interest

The Combined Federal Campaign’s cause of the week is children and family services.

The first 1,000 days of life are crucial for human development. This small window of time often sets the stage for whether a child grows into a healthy, loving, compassionate individual or a sickly, alienated, dangerous one.

The effects of deprivation early in life are profound, for both the child and for society. A TED talk by pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains with painful clarity just how high the costs are.

The more adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, that a child lives through, the worse his or her physical, emotional and intellectual prognosis is — for life. Even DNA has been shown to be affected.

Society, too, pays a high price, as children who do not form close attachments early on are far more likely than their more well-adjusted peers to turn to crime.

Supporting the needs of children and families is therefore in everyone’s best interest.

The list of affiliated causes, and the need, is great. Foster care, domestic violence shelters, single parent services, even human trafficking all touch on this category.

If you are still unsure of where to focus your giving, the website for the campaign, also known as the CFC, can help.

Under “Donors” on the home page, choose “Online Charity Search” from the drop-down menu.

The second field is “Select a Specific Category.” While there is no specific “children and family services” category in the search tool, there are several that apply: Education; Health Care; Housing and Shelter; Human Services and Youth Development are some.

The Combined Federal Campaign is the federal government’s workplace charity drive. The latest campaign began Sept. 1 and runs through Jan. 15.

Participation in the CFC is voluntary.

The website has more information.

This is the ninth in a series of articles spotlighting the Combined Federal Campaign’s cause of the week. Next week: food and nutrition.