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A taste of home

Employees sending holiday cheer to military members

Durand, IL, Retail Associate Hilary Deppe, center, and her daughter, Rayna, right, stand with Karen Kramer, who helped collect dozens of holiday care packages for members of the military. This photo was taken earlier in the fall following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols in place at the time.

Postal Service employees across the nation are going the extra mile to help customers send seasonal cheer to loved ones in the military who can’t be home for the holidays.

In Durand, IL, a USPS retail associate, Hilary Deppe, stepped in when a local school district decided to suspend its annual holiday care package program amid a statewide spike in coronavirus infections.

Deppe made sure 44 Priority Mail boxes of care-package donations collected by the Pecatonica, IL, schools were processed and shipped.

“This year is important for service people. They are locked down, isolated and not allowed to go home [for the holidays],” said Deppe, who has a son serving in the Navy.

Customers are also turning to the Postal Service in communities such as San Luis Obispo, CA, where Si Tenenberg, a Marine Corps veteran, organizes an annual effort to send care packages to military members serving overseas.

Tenenberg said he has heard from service members who don’t have the supplies they need because stores are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We just have to keep our guys knowing that we support them being over there and the only way I know how to do that is to write them letters, cards and send them boxes,” Tenenberg told KSBY, the local NBC station.

Care packages are among the millions of mailpieces that USPS delivers each holiday season. This year, the organization is making these deliveries amid unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic.

In October, the Postal Service released suggested mail-by dates for military and diplomatic destinations and encouraged customers to send their cards, letters and packages early.

Deppe, who also helps organize a local Memorial Day parade and a “hometown heroes” sendoff for military enlistees, takes pride in the Postal Service’s role in serving military families.

“It’s straight up the best way to send packages to family members,” she said. “On military moms’ social media pages, everyone says they use USPS and Priority Mail.”

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