Charlottesville-area Meals On Wheels affected by inconsistent mail deliveries

Some people in the Charlottesville area have been dealing with inconsistent mail delivery.
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 2:21 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Some people in the Charlottesville area have been dealing with inconsistent mail delivery.

This ongoing issue is also affecting Meals On Wheels. The nonprofit says it goes weeks at a time without receiving mail, or deliveries come after hours. Interim Executive Director Hailey Peterson says this can impact bills and donations from clients, sometimes resulting in people paying twice.

“We had a calendar that was up, where we would highlight the days that the mail had come,” Peterson said Tuesday, October 3. “It was so infrequent. After three months, we were like, ‘This isn’t even worth it.’”

Peterson says they’re looking into other options: “It’s gotten to the point that we’ve considered getting a P.O. box just because it’s been so unreliable,” she said.

Patrick Knittle says he is also struggling with the inconsistency: “I reached out to my mail carrier to find out what was happening and was understanding that they aren’t even sorting the mail, except maybe once a week,” he said.

Knittle says he never gets his newspaper the day of: “It’s totally random. I’ll go seven days without it. I’ll go three days. I’ll get two papers,” he said.

USPS tells NBC29 that the average time for first-class mail to be delivered is 2.8 days in Charlottesville. It also says it has held 11 jobs fairs in central Virginia this year, almost every Thursday.

U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D) says he is frustrated there isn’t a long-term solution.

“I think one of the things the Postal Service should still do is give Charlottesville a little bit of a bump up and pay, because, candidly, you can make as much money - and you get a bonus - if you start at Chick-fil-A than if you do at the Post Office,” the senator said.

Meals On Wheels says it has filed a complaint to USPS.

“The response that we’ve gotten both times that we’ve kind of complained is they’re understaffed and they’re working on it, which I can understand to a point,” Peterson said. “But it’s also like, we need our mail.”

USPS said in a statement that it has installed a high-speed package sorting machine in Charlottesville. Additionally, it has a performance score of 93% first-class mail delivery, and aims to increase that.


Full statement from USPS:

The Postal Service is committed delivering mail and packages on time. In Charlottesville, the average time for First-Class Mail (FCM) to be delivered is just 2.8 days.

As part of the Delivering for America, 10-year plan, the Postal Service installed nearly 350 high-speed package sorting machines across the country, including one in Charlottesville last year. We began to streamline our operations helping our performance scores reach 93% for FCM in Charlottesville. We are continually challenging ourselves to raise those service scores even higher.

When the need arises, routes are covered with substitute carriers and employees from nearby offices. We have job fairs in Charlottesville almost every Thursday to bring in new employees. Still, there have been some isolated instances of sporadic mail delivery on a few routes. Customers with questions should contact their local Post Office. We thank customers for their understanding and continued support.

Candidates interested in a full-time, part-time or seasonal position with the Postal Service can search and apply for jobs online at Applicants can also attend an upcoming job fair. In addition to the weekly job fairs in Charlottesville at Virginia Career Works, located at 943 Glenwood Station Lane, there are some job fairs scheduled at the Gordonsville Post Office for this Wednesday, Oct. 4, from 1 to 3 p.m., and at the Lexington Post Office on Oct. 13, from noon to 3 p.m.

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