Holiday kickoff

The most wonderful time of the year has received a jump start.

The USPS Operation Santa program began accepting letters from people in need on Sept. 15 — six weeks earlier than last year.

The Postal Service made the announcement at the stamp dedication celebrating the new Holiday Elves stamps in North Pole, AK. Michael Elston, secretary of the Postal Service Board of Governors, led the ceremony.

“We know this is earlier than usual, but we’re pretty excited to get the season started and we know kids around the country are eager to write to Santa, using these stamps on the envelopes,” Elston said.

The 110-year-old program provides an online channel where people can safely and securely help children and families have a magical holiday when they otherwise might not have the means. Individuals can adopt letters to Santa and send gifts anonymously.

Last year, letters could be sent beginning Nov. 1. Thousands of letters were received by the time the website, USPSOperationSanta.com, opened for letter adoption on Nov. 29, 2021. However, only 2,500 letters contained the information necessary to be posted and those letters were all adopted within 10 minutes of the site opening.

The Postal Service is hoping the extra time to send letters this year will result in many more letters available to adopt on opening day, Nov. 28.

USPS Operation Santa letters are opened and reviewed, and personal information is redacted, before they are uploaded for adoption by employees, customers and others.

Letter writers must include a first and last name and a complete return address (street address, apartment number if applicable, city, state and ZIP Code). The envelope must have a postage stamp on it to travel through the Postal Service network.

Letters should be addressed to: Santa Claus, 123 Elf Road, North Pole 88888.

Share your feedback at uspslink@usps.gov. Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.

Climate of cooperation

USPS and 18 of its international counterparts will celebrate the fourth annual Green Postal Day on Sept. 16.

The observance highlights the progress made by posts around the world working together to reduce carbon emissions. It is also meant to inspire other industries to adopt a similar approach to addressing climate change.

The day is organized by the International Post Corp., a cooperative of posts in North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Postal services have been a pioneer in setting common targets to reduce carbon emissions for more than a decade. Worldwide, postal emissions dropped 34 percent between 2008 and 2021.

It is not only good for the environment, it is also good customer service.

“Part of our job in Environmental Affairs and Corporate Sustainability is to get everyone in the organization to think about sustainable best practices at work and at home,” said Judy de Torok, the Postal Service’s corporate affairs vice president.

In January, USPS pledged to make sustainability a priority at all levels of decision-making in its Commitment to Environmental Excellence.

Information on the organization’s many sustainability initiatives can be found at usps.com/green.

Are you ready?

During National Preparedness Month, the Postal Service is reminding managers and emergency management teams to be ready at a moment’s notice.

USPS employees at every level must be prepared to respond to — and recover quickly from — emergencies.

Facility managers and other postal leaders should:

• Post emergency procedures and make sure they are shared with employees.

• Make sure employees know what the USPS National Employee Emergency Hotline (888-363-7462) is and when to use it. After an emergency, employees can call the hotline to report their condition and check for changes in their scheduled work reporting status.

• Remind employees to update their emergency contact information.

• Review proper head-counting procedures.

Checklists and other tools are available on the USPS National Preparedness Blue page.