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Residents supply neighborhood postal workers with protective masks, gloves

“I looked out and saw our mail lady was out working while I was safely in my house.”

THE WOODLANDS, Texas — Concerns for postal service employees who deliver mail without masks and gloves remain, while USPS says it’s working to ensure letter carriers have personal protective equipment and sanitizers.

Some neighbors in The Woodlands have taken it upon themselves to provide masks and gloves for the workers.

“I was sitting in my house trying to figure out how I could help in the community, and I hadn’t quite figured that out yet,” Susan Warren said. “I looked out and saw our mail lady was out working while I was safely in my house.”

The letter carrier who delivers thousands of pieces of mail each day did not have a mask or gloves to wear.

“She was on the front lines, taking care of our mail,” Warren said. “Getting it delivered every day.”

As the days of social distancing have turned to weeks, old talents have found new purpose.

Susan Warren knows how to sew.

She’s made almost everything one can with fabric and thread, but in all of her years spent in front of a sewing machine, Warren has never sewn a face mask — until a few weeks ago.

“I just got busy and downloaded a pattern and started making masks,” Warren said.

She made a few for her family at first.

Then for a few friends.

Then the nursing home where her dad lives wanted some after she made one for him.

“At the place where my father lives they’ve asked to sew in a pocket because they supply the N-95 filter,” Warren said as she holds up the leopard-print creation with an opening on the inside.”

Warren’s next mission was to make one for the neighborhood’s letter carrier.

“I just put together a package,” Warren said. “I had gloves in our house, that we had some extras of, and so I quickly made her a mask and I put it out for her.”

Extremely grateful, the letter carrier now wears them every day.

In a prepared, emailed statement, the United States Postal Service states:

To reduce health risks for our employees and customers and to safeguard our operational and business continuity, the Postal Service is doing the following:

  • Ensuring millions of masks, gloves and cleaning and sanitizing product are available and distributed to more than 30,000 locations every day through our Postal Service supply chain. We also have opened up local purchasing authorities and sourcing options so that our employees can access additional supplies within the communities they serve. We have expanded our national sourcing of supplies and services to ensure that increasing demands are met.

The U.S. Postal Service has maintained that “there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.”

Instead of waiting to see if health guidelines are changed once again during the crisis, some have decided act on intuition instead.

“We have individuals out on the front lines,” Warren said. “We need to ask, What can we do to support you? What can we do to thank you?’”