Across America this week, in communities large and small, Postal Service workers are bringing home the holidays for a nation that could use a little cheer.
USPS expects to deliver 12 billion mailpieces — including 850-950 million packages — during the 38-day stretch between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The organization is going the extra mile to ensure cards, letters and gifts reach their intended recipients, including extending hours at some Post Offices and making Christmas Day package deliveries in select locations.
Employees know the public is counting on them.
“I feel … like Santa when I’m loading and unloading happiness,” said Jennifer Barber, a mail handler at the Boston Processing and Distribution Center. “I know I get excited when my packages come.”
The Postal Service began preparing for this year’s peak delivery season months ago, an all-hands-on-deck effort that dovetailed with the launch of Delivering for America, the 10-year plan to strengthen customer service and achieve financial sustainability.
The work included boosting the number of career employees, hiring seasonal workers, leasing additional facilities to handle the package surge and expanding Sunday deliveries in high-volume locations.
USPS also installed more than new 100 package sorting machines — which have proven a big hit with employees.
“It’s good, a smart move for the future,” said Robert McToy, a mail processing clerk at the Busse, IL, Processing and Distribution Center.
In a nation struggling to move past the coronavirus pandemic, this holiday season has also been marked by employees taking extra steps to brighten customers’ days.
In Lady Lake, FL, Postmaster Denise Buell and her employees dipped into their own pockets to help a group of community volunteers cover the cost of shipping home-baked cookies to U.S. soldiers serving overseas.
The act of generosity prompted customers waiting in line to chip in, too.
“To families who have loved ones serving: No one can understand what your life is like, but what happened at the Post Office that beautiful morning shows that others share your worry and your pride,” Terri Winefordner, an Orlando Sentinel guest columnist, wrote in a heartfelt accounting of the incident.
For other employees, the holidays are an annual reminder of what makes working for USPS special.
“When I see all the new hires coming on to help, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed — their attitude is contagious,” said Charlene Campbell, a custodian at the Honolulu Processing and Distribution Center. “This is the best time of the year to work for the Postal Service because of the joy we deliver.”
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