6 Simple Ways to Help the USPS Right Now
The U.S. Postal Service needs our support right now—here's what you can do to give them a leg up.
Every day, the U.S. Postal Service processes and delivers an estimated 472.1 million pieces of mail, from paychecks to handwritten letters from loved ones to a whole lot of junk mail. On top of costing taxpayers almost nothing, the USPS delivers mail to every address in the United States for the exact same price—unlike for-profit delivery services such as UPS or FedEx, which charge more to send letters and packages to rural areas. Find out more surprising facts about the U.S. Post Office.
This federal agency is a lifeline for Americans far and wide, but it is currently in danger of collapsing. Mail volume has dropped by nearly a third during the coronavirus pandemic, as companies send fewer ads and fliers that make up the majority of USPS deliveries. Now, the Postal Service estimates it will lose $13 billion in revenue this year, putting its operations at risk. Here’s what you can to do keep the essential services of the USPS running.
Buy stamps and other merch
Instead of receiving government funding, the U.S. Postal Service covers the cost of its operations by selling postage, products, and services. In fact, since 1982, the mail service’s budget has relied almost entirely on stamp sales rather than taxpayer dollars. Do your part to help the USPS by purchasing stamps and other branded merchandise, such as beach towels, tote bags, and collector’s items. Stamps don’t have an expiration date and the “Forever” stamps will always cover the cost of first-class postage, even if it rises in the future; they will undoubtedly come in handy the next time you need to mail a last-minute birthday card or rent check. By the way, that you’re sending out a birthday card isn’t the only shocking thing your mail carrier knows about you.
Supporting the USPS doesn’t have to cost a dime, nor does it require leaving your house. Sign the Center for American Progress’ petition to provide relief funding to the USPS, or join the nearly 2 million petitioners asking Congress and the Treasury to approve financial aid for the post office. You can even get your family and friends involved by sharing the link to an online petition and educating them on what could happen if the U.S. Post Service stopped delivering mail.
Spread the word on social media
Once a place for posting vacation photos and selfies, social media has transformed into a platform for education and activism. Many are using sites like Instagram and Twitter to raise awareness of issues ranging from racial justice to the coronavirus. To join the conversation, create a post or share someone else’s explaining why the USPS is important, the issues the agency is facing, and what your friends and family can do to help. Find out 23 more secrets your postal carrier isn’t telling you.
Choose USPS shipping
It’s a great time to treat yourself to some online shopping. When you shop at online stores that use the Postal Service or select USPS shipping at checkout, you can rest assured you’re contributing to a good cause. Spending a few extra dollars on options like express, overnight, or 2-day shipping will not only speed up the delivery but also put additional funds in the mail service’s pocket. But before your package arrives, learn whether you should be disinfecting your mail due to the pandemic.
Got two minutes to spare? Text “USPS” to 50409. After an automated chatbot asks for your name and mailing address, it will email your local representatives urging them to support the Delivering for America Act, which would protect the Postal Service from any changes to its operations or services before the 2020 presidential election. Getting involved couldn’t be simpler these days. After all, sending a text is a far cry from what mail delivery looked like 100 years ago.
Contact your representatives
Whether you choose to call, email, or tweet, contacting your local elected officials is the most time-tested way to make your voice heard. Members of the American Postal Workers Union have already made nearly 30,000 calls asking Congress to aid the Postal Service. To learn who your representatives are and how to get in touch with them, visit the House of Representatives website and enter your zip code. To be even more informed, learn how the U.S. government really spends your tax dollars.
- The New York Times: “Coronavirus Is Threatening One of the Government’s Steadiest Services: The Mail.”
- USPS: “Postal Facts”
- APWU: “APWU members make almost 30,000 calls to Congress”
- U.S. House of Representatives: Find Your Representative
- House Committee on Oversight and Reform: “Chairwoman Maloney Introduces ‘Delivering for America Act’ to Protect Delivery Standards for U.S. Postal Service”
- Change.org: Save the USPS
- Center for American Progress: Take Action: Save the Post Office!