CLEVELAND — There’s a sort of magic that comes along with Christmas, but even Santa needs some helpers to pull it all off, helpers like U.S. Postal Service workers.
Benjamin Hernandez is a tractor/trailer operator for the Orange Ave. plant in Cleveland. He’s worked for USPS for three years.
“Three holiday seasons, yes, working Christmas, New Years,” he said. “We are constantly moving mail. It keeps me busy,” he said.
He said every worker is busy, even with USPS hiring 600 seasonal employees in Cleveland.
“We work 24/7. We have times where we are short-handed because of COVID. We have drivers that are out for COVID,” said Hernandez.
There’s also a new processing center in Parma.
“We have secured a facility in Parma and this location is operating. In preparation for the 2021 holiday season, 112 additional package sorting machines are being installed across the country that can process thousands of packages an hour, up to 12 times faster than manual sorting,” said Naddia Dhalai with USPS.
Hernandez said this holiday season feels different than the last, at the peak of the pandemic.
“It’s not as crazy. Last year we were really jam-packed,” he said.
Though it is still the busiest week of the year for the postal service. USPS estimated nearly 2.3 billion pieces of mail, including cards and packages, will be processed and delivered this week-millions of those in Northeast Ohio.
Angela Collins dropped off her gifts at the Orange Ave. plant Wednesday.
“I’m sending some presents to Michigan because I have lots of family in Michigan,” she said. “I am one of those people who still go Black Friday shopping so I have all my Christmas stuff, but getting to the post office has been a little bit difficult.”
She said she was pleasantly surprised to see just how fast she got in and out of the post office.
“It was pretty crowded in there when I first got in. I appreciate that they’re working hard and I know they’re really taxed,” she said.
She’s right. It is a taxing operation.
“Yes, it is important everyone wants their Christmas gifts for the holiday,” said Hernandez.
But for Hernandez, it’s just business as usual.
“At all times of the year, everyone is waiting for their medicine, everyone is waiting for something that’s coming through the United States Postal Service, so we are here to move the mail and that’s what we are trying to do.”
Wednesday was the deadline to ship Retail Ground packages in order for them to arrive by Christmas… but there’s still time!
-Dec. 17- First-Class Mail (greetings cards and letters)
-Dec. 18- Priority Mail
-Dec. 23- Priority Mail Express