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Home stretch

Employees working to deliver holidays

Paul Luong, an Alexandria, VA, letter carrier, scans holiday packages last week.

The Postal Service has entered peak season’s home stretch, with employees working hard to accept, process and deliver the nation’s holiday mail and packages.

This is always the organization’s busiest time of year, but 2020 has presented unique challenges. Among them: Coronavirus cases are surging, which has created employee shortages for USPS and other shippers and prompted more customers to shop online, spiking package volumes.

Despite the challenges, employees are focused on serving customers.

“This is our time to shine,” said David Kennedy, a Fort Myers, FL, retail associate. “The days are long, but so fulfilling. To be a part of binding the country together during this pandemic gives me a huge sense of pride.”

In addition to the pandemic, employees dealt last week with a storm that smashed decades-old snowfall totals in New England and parts of the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as bitterly cold temperatures in the Midwest.

But even that hasn’t dampened many workers’ spirits.

“We keep working hard to get where we need to be and give customers the service they deserve,” said Willie Colvin Jr., acting manager at Rogers Park Station in Chicago. “I tell [employees] this is for our customers. They depend on us.”

For some longtime Postal Service employees, this season’s huge volumes recall memories of Christmases past.

“I thought with COVID-19, mail volume would decrease, but people have gone back to communicating through the mail,” said Jennifer Conderino, a mail handler at the Hartford, CT, Processing and Distribution Center and a 22-year USPS veteran. “It’s been nice seeing all the Christmas cards come through and seeing people sending cheer to people who need it.”

Employees also remain committed to serving their communities through toy drives, food drives and programs like USPS Operation Santa, an initiative that allows postal workers and customers to fulfill the holiday wishes of children in need.

“Nothing can stop us from doing our part for the community,” said Moorpark, CA, Postmaster Leo Rivera. “Not even a pandemic.”

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