U.S. postal workers already shoveling through an avalanche of greeting cards, letters and packages destined for homes this holiday season are expected to process about 600 million pieces of mail Dec. 16, the busiest mailing day projected this year.
About 780,000 pieces of that Christmas cheer will make its way through the Wichita Processing and Distribution Center, 7117 W. Harry, Wichita postal officials say – nearly three times the volume of newly postmarked mail handled on a typical day.
“It’s a monumental task,” said Kelli Cunningham, supervisor of customer service support for the U.S. Postal Service in Wichita, where mail from across the state is sent for sorting and processing before it’s delivered.
The bulk of mail sent Dec. 16 will be doled out two days later, on what’s expected to be the postal service’s busiest delivery day.
“We want people to mail earlier,” Cunningham said. “But there are options to get packages and letters delivered through Christmas Day.”
In addition to obtaining mailing services at their local postal branches, customers can again buy and print postage, labels and customs forms anytime online atwww.usps.com
. Free package pickup may be scheduled online, and free Priority Mail flat-rate boxes can be ordered at shop.usps.com or by calling 800-STAMP-24 to be delivered to a customer’s door.
First-class mail sent by Dec. 20 is expected to arrive at its destination by Christmas, Cunningham said. For Priority Mail, the deadline is Dec. 21.
Items sent using the post office’s overnight or two-day shipping service, Priority Express, should be postmarked by Dec. 23 for Christmas delivery.
Post offices branches will be open normal hours through Dec. 23. But most close at noon on Christmas Eve.
Already this week the Wichita Processing and Distribution Center has seen a substantial increase in mail volume, said Stan Blasi, plant manager.
On Wednesday, up to a half-million pieces were postmarked, up from the usual 320,000 a day.
“I think everybody like to go to the box and find a letter addressed to them,” Blasi said. “We’re just keeping busy.”