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Employees aiding Harvey victims in shelters

USPS employees help customers in shelter
Postal Service employees Kelly Davis and Stephanie Barnhill, standing, help customers fill out a change-of-address request at the NRG Center this week.

USPS employees are working in shelters throughout the Gulf Coast region, helping tens of thousands of displaced Hurricane Harvey victims reconnect with their mail.

“The Post Office is crucial in a time like this. We’re there for the community,” said Juan Loyola, a San Antonio customer services supervisor who is working at a shelter inside the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston.

Loyola and other employees are providing shelter residents with a variety of assistance, including completing change-of-address requests.

Most of these employees are out-of-towners who volunteered for the assignment.

“When duty calls, duty calls,” said Helena, AR, Postmaster Anita Simmons, who also assisted with the Postal Service’s response to last year’s flooding in Louisiana.

At the NRG Center, Houston’s largest emergency shelter, employees say helping customers who’ve lost everything is a humbling experience.

“We are providing real help to people who need it,” said Stuttgart, AR, Postmaster Stephanie Barnhill. “The little act of a change of address and getting someone’s mail to them is a worthy cause.”

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, when the convention center began to fill with evacuees, Loyola recalled how grateful customers were to see the makeshift service booth bearing the USPS logo.

“We were a light in a time of darkness,” he said.

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