Here's How You Can Help the U.S. Postal Service Right Now
On August 13th, President Donald Trump announced he will not provide the additional funding the United States Postal Service needs to handle the influx of mail-in voting ballots for November's election. As it stands, the USPS processes about 19.7 million mailpieces each hour, and it estimates it needs an additional $25 billion to support absentee voting. Trump has been a huge critic of the mail-in voting process, falsely claiming that voter fraud will run rampant if the majority of ballots go through the Postal Service.
Without that stimulus check, the fate of USPS—and the election process—is in limbo.
However, it’s not just the lack of government funding that has caused the crippling of the Postal Service. According to RStreet.org, whose mission is “promoting limited, effective government and free markets through the principles of sound governance and transparency,” businesses that have shuttered due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic have caused an estimated 30% drop in mail volume.
“It may irreparably damage an agency that for years has been running multi-billion dollar deficits and weighted down by $130 billion in unfunded employee benefits. Depending on the magnitude of the revenue drop-off, the agency may run out of liquidity and be forced to cease operations this autumn or winter. Which has not happened the post office’s two-century history,” the organization reports.
So, with attacks on USPS coming from all angles, here's how you can help.
Here’s a petition you can sign to “Show those that wish to dismantle and privatize the USPS that we are against letting one of our prize institutions fail” on Change.org. Your signature will be added to a list of 1.2 million (and growing) that will be sent directly to the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the United States Department of the Treasury.
And here’s another petition you can sign from Center of American Progress to “Take action to tell the White House: STOP blocking relief funding to the USPS.” Common Cause has also launched a petition you can sign “to tell Congress: pass funding to save the USPS.”
Once you sign these petitions (and more), share them on your social media feeds so that others can join the fight. Some sites will also ask if you’d like to donate to further help the cause, so feel free to toss a couple of dollars there way if able.
Text "USPS" to 50409.
Another way to sign a petition is to text "USPS" (quotes added for clarity, but simply text the four letters) to 50409. From there, ResistBot will ask for your name and zip code to contact your representatives in Congress.
Even Archie Comics is on board with this way to save the USPS.
You’ve thought about sending postcards or letters to all your pals during COVID, so now is the time to buy stamps in bulk and get to sending.
“The post office is short on money, and there's an amazingly easy way to get money to the post office: buy stamps,” Bill Prady, executive producer of The Big Bang Theory, told NPR back in April. “If you take all the adults in America, and if all of them bought $10 worth of postage, you're in the billions."
The Postal Service offers a huge variety of different stamps, including a brand-new collection of forever stamps dedicated to the art of Japanese-American artist Ruth Asawa. Sometimes the stamps can be just as pretty as the postcard.
Purchase your greeting cards and shipping supplies through the Postal Service.
Many post offices also have card stands, like in gift shops, so you can browse to find the perfect greeting card and send it to your loved one all at once—what a novel idea, huh? Especially right now, when we all are staying home due to coronavirus, it's a perfect time to get all of this done online, in one place.
Buy USPS merch.
Did you even know that the Postal Service has merch? Under the “Gifts” tab on the USPS website, you can purchase toy cars, signed posters and prints, reusable tote bags, t-shirts, backpacks, framed stamps, and even dog costumes. For the retro lovers out there, there's even merch with Mr. Zip, who debuted when zip codes were first introduced.
Family and friends, be warned: You’re all getting glass mailbox ornaments for the holiday season this year.
Contact your local government officials.
Your representatives and senators all need to hear your voice on this issue. Search by zip code to find the contact information for your House representatives here and your senators here. Senators can also be reached directly through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
When talking or writing to your representatives directly, ask them to support the Delivering for America Act, which would prohibit changes to the Post Office service while the pandemic is ongoing. When communicating with your senators, tell them to back the HEROES Act, which gives emergency funding to the USPS and makes mail-in voting available in all states, and the USPS Fairness Act. The American Postal Workers Union website makes the latter easy with a tool to directly contact Congress about the USPS Fairness Act.
Call them on the phone and also send them letters through USPS. If you need help drafting a note, check out RuralOrganizing.org’s sample letter and sign up to receive updates on their mission.
Tell your local USPS workers that you appreciate their work.
After doing several or all of the above actions to financially support USPS, remind your local USPS workers that they are truly fighting the good fight. Without them and the Postal Service, we’d be in big trouble (something that someone in a house that is white seemingly doesn’t understand at the moment).
One way to do this is to follow @APWUnational, the American Postal Workers Union on Twitter.
Let’s get to work, fellow citizens. Buy your stamps, send your postcards, and buy that USPS t-shirt. We may not be able to give USPS a lump sum of $25 billion, but every little bit counts.