Harrisburg package distribution center to process 3.3M packages during holiday season


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — As the clock ticks closer to Christmas, postal workers are kicking into high gear. While the carriers get all the credit, it’s the worker elves back in the processing plants that make the magic happen.

Signed, sealed, delivered — it’s not yours until it goes through them.

“That’s the face of the post office; that’s the carriers out there delivering our packages every day. We’re behind the scenes,” said Richard Adewolfe, senior plant manager of the Harrisburg Processing and Distribution Center.

Behind the scenes and the curtain lies an automated system that sorts mail by ZIP codes.

“It actually physically reads the data in the bar code of that package and sorts it on this machine into a container,” Adewolfe said.

“One piece of mail goes through five different things in, like, an hour,” said Jayneisha Baskerbiloe, a mail handler assistant.

A typical holiday hour at the plant is no joke.

“It’s a lot more work,” Baskerbiloe said.

“As an example, tonight we’re gonna do probably about 160,000 packages in this machine,” Adewolfe said.

It’s a machine that’s part of the big machine that is USPS, which needed a good tune-up at the dawn of the Internet Age.

“When I started working this parcel operation behind me in the mid-80s, I had maybe three people working it because the volumes were so minimal,” Adewolfe said.

While it may be easy to grumble about the time it takes to get mail, there are ways to aid in getting post punctually.

“Keep up with the tracking because they take it very seriously so you know where your mail is,” Baskerbiloe said.

“The way we sort mail is only as good as the address they have on it,” Adewolfe said.

The deadline for Christmas cards is Dec. 20. Christmas packages can be sent until a day later, on Dec. 21.

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