In a world where the simple act of mailing a letter holds immense potential, the United States Postal Service (USPS) embraces its influence and responsibility to support meaningful initiatives. With a reach extending to over 165 million homes and being the largest federally employed entity, the USPS has taken steps to include, promote, inspire, and fund incredible causes.
In 1983, Ronald Reagan declared May 25th National Missing Children’s Day after the disappearance of Etan Patz garnered national attention. Not long after, in 1985, the USPS partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to launch Have You Seen Me?®, a program dedicated to promoting photos and information regarding missing children and young adults via direct mail. As of 2017, the program has successfully reunited 164 missing children or young adults with their families.
This isn’t the only thing the Post Office has done to bring awareness to missing children. A year after the Amber Alert was nationally adopted, the USPS issued a special edition stamp highlighting the Amber Alert system. In fact, the USPS has used semipostal stamps to bring attention and funds to a myriad of causes. In March of this year, they were able to raise $95.8 million for breast cancer research, $7.4 million for the conservation of endangered species, and $1.8 million to support veterans suffering from PTSD.
Most recently, the USPS spearheaded the largest single-day food drive in America: Stamp Out Hunger. Every second Saturday in May, carriers collect non-perishable food donations left by mailboxes. Nearly 10,000 cities across all 50 states and US territories participate in this event, which has collected almost 2 billion pounds of food over the last 30 years.
The USPS has also taken strides to adopt and implement sustainable practices. In 2020, they were recognized by the EPA as a Waste Wise partner, which identifies U.S. businesses that demonstrated how they reduced waste, practiced environmental stewardship, and incorporated sustainable materials management into their waste management practices. In 2021, they published their Climate Action Plan (CAP), which outlines their 10-year roadmap to continuously advance their sustainability goals and environmentally focused solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, fuel use, and waste.
These initiatives are just a glimpse of the USPS’s commitment to extending its reach and providing societal support. The USPS also inspires through its dedication to working with minority and women-owned businesses, fostering economic growth, and celebrating diversity. Whether shining a light on missing children or supporting causes like breast cancer research, conservation, and veterans’ well-being, the USPS actively works to make a profound impact. So, before you discard your mail, take a moment to read it—you might uncover an opportunity to support these worthy causes and make a difference. Together, through initiatives like Stamp Out Hunger, the USPS touches lives and brings communities closer.
Written by: Leilani Solomon