Tucked away near the heart of San Pedro sits the only all-volunteer post office in the country. The Assistance League Post Office, located at the end of 8th Street, not only sends packages, but also gives back to the community.
A portion of each postage sold goes back to the Assistance League of San Pedro, a nonprofit that provides dental care, clothing and other services for low-income individuals and families in the area.
“Our longest-serving volunteer maybe went up to 25 years," said Gayle Merrick, who has been a volunteer for over 18 years and works as the chairman and behind the counter as a clerk. "When you come, you stay. Yeah. I think it just sort of hooks you."
She works with Carolyn Woosley, a 22-year volunteer and the treasurer of the nonprofit.
Woosley said the value expressed by those in the community reminds her about why she volunteered in the first place.
“Our customers do seem to appreciate that we have a presence here,” said Woosley.
Merrick, Woosley and the 14 other volunteers make sure to have all their holiday items in stock, because the holiday season brings in the majority of their yearly proceeds.
“We depend a lot on our Christmas sales to kind of bolster our income during the year. This month is very important,” Merrick said.
Sales for the United States Post Office has been on a steady decline for years. According to the USPS, in 2017 retail revenue was nearly $6 billion less than 2013.
“Sales are down in the post office, USPS in general, and our sales are too. But we manage to keep this running five days a week from nine to five,” Merrick said.
As the holidays approach, Merrick said that their post office will need a few extra volunteer hands to keep the post office going and give back to the community they love so much.
The Assistance League of San Pedro-South Bay Post Office is located at 1441 W. 8th Street, San Pedro, CA 90732.