Bakersfield mail carriers prepare for holiday surge

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – The most wonderful time of the year is upon us and that becomes the busiest for Postal workers nationwide.  This week letter carriers are preparing for their biggest mission of the year: the holiday peak season.

Daniel Barrera has been working for the U.S. Postal Service for 6 years. He is the go-to when training new letter carriers at the Downtown Bakersfield Post Office.

His shift starts way before the metal gates swing open, welcoming customers ready to send off parcels and letters to their destinations.

“You have to come with a positive attitude,” said Barrera.  “If you come with a negative attitude, then you’ll have a negative day.”

As packages begin to pile up, letter carriers begin to mentally prepare for the incoming surge, all while staff shortages are forcing them to cover several other routes.

“A lot of our guys are working on their days off,” said Serina Ornelaz, Manager at the Downtown Post Office.  “They’re carrying their route, they come back and pick up pieces of another route.”

Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from ensuring your mail gets delivered.

“They got to add the new one: pandemic,” said Barrera.  “Every day is different, you don’t get the same packages.”

The U.S. Postal Service ships just about anything, during the pandemic Daniel ensured cremated remains made it to their destination.

“It’s a bittersweet moment but I took them on a good ride,” said Barrera.

Cremated remains or presents you’ll place under the tree, to ensure delivery by the holidays you must get your packages into the post office by strict deadlines.

“Be early,” said Ornelaz. “Don’t wait until the last minute, we have deadlines that we meet.”

Packages bound for military bases or out of the country, need to be postmarked by December 9.  Greeting cards, First Class mail, bring them in by December 17.  Priority Mail service must be in by December 18.  If you must wait until the very last minute, Priority Express will deliver on time if received by December 23.

The Postal Service predicts that nearly 2.3 billion pieces of First-Class Mail, including greeting cards and packages, will be processed and delivered by mid-December.

“Santa Claus takes all the props,” said Barrera.  “It’s everybody, it’s the post office, all the delivery services, we are all out here working, shout out to all the delivery services!”

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