COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — For 14 years, delivering mail and packages has been Evelyn Pessoa's passion.
"The happy faces, the kids, the dogs, everything. It's just amazing the type of job that we do," she said Wednesday.
It's a passion that's been passed down for generations.
"My father started it all. And I follow. My sister followed. My daughter follows, and also my brother-in-law now," Pessoa said.
And it's this time of the year when she and her family really have to give it their all.
"We start at 6 a.m. We get our packages in our trucks. We start delivering the packages. Then, we come back to the office, do our mail and started delivering packages again, so it's an all-day thing," she said.
The holiday season means lots of long hours for U.S. Postal Service (USPS) clerks and carriers as they try to keep up with an increase in shipments.
"What used to be [our] Christmas volume for packages now is almost everyday volume, and then throw in the Christmas period, and then we have even more on top of that," USPS communications specialist James Boxrud said.
Like many industries, the Postal Service is also grappling with staffing shortages. In the metro alone, there are about 250 open positions.
"This time of year, it's really all hands on deck, so a lot of our HR people are actually helping out in different offices or in the plant just to process all the packages," Boxrud said.
In mountain communities like Conifer, USPS is having to borrow workers from neighboring post offices to help out.
"When you look at our mountain communities, they're so expensive to live in. In Evergreen, I think, maybe you could buy a house for $750,000, so starting out at $20 an hour, that's not going to really provide," Boxrud said.
All carriers like Pessoa are asking for right now is patience as they try to get everything delivered on time.
"We're going to come to your house, for sure," she said. "It's sometimes a little later, sometimes a little earlier, but we're going to deliver the letters, the packages and everything else."
USPS has shipping deadlines on its websiteif you'd like to know by when to send your mail or packages.