America's only volunteer-run post office reopens ahead of 2020 election

After closings its doors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the only volunteer-run post office in the country has reopened in San Pedro ahead of the 2020 election.
SAN PEDRO, Calif. (KABC) -- There are over 30,000 post offices across the country, but San Pedro is home to a one-of-a-kind post office that you won't find anywhere else.

"We are the only volunteer post office in the country," said Post Office Manager Gayle Merrick.

The post office tucked away on 8th St. has been run by volunteers of the Assistance League of San Pedro-South Bay since 1964.

"The Assistance League is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping people in need," said President of the San Pedro-South Bay chapter Ginger Webster.

The Assistance League of San Pedro-South Bay gives back to the community through a litany of programs, such as Operation School Bell which provides $100 shopping certificates for kids in need or Weavers, a program for visually-impaired adults, among others.

"We need funds to support our volunteer activities," Merrick said. "We're under contract to the post office, therefore making money."

Merrick said the post office is a contract postal unit, which means it is run privately instead of publicly. All of the profits that the nonprofit makes from the post office and the neighboring gift shop go right back into its community programs.

"This is a small little neighborhood post office," Merrick said. "People, when they come in, they'll usually see a neighbor or an old friend from high school. But that's the way the San Pedro community is."

Merrick, a former nurse, made the decision to close up in March due to COVID-19. She said most of the volunteers at the post office are over the age of 70.

As the election grew near, Merrick knew that the neighborhood post office had an important job to do.

The post office reopened on Oct. 1.

"It was important for us to open so that we could take in the mail and we could date stamp it and just an aid to processing these ballots," she said.

As voters continue to cast their ballots, Gayle has faith in the United States Postal Service.

SEE MORE: Here's how to vote in LA County

"They're honest, they're trustworthy, and I feel no regret from having put my ballot in the mail," Merrick said. "I know it's going to get there."

The Assistance League of San Pedro-South Bay Post Office is located at 1441 W 8th St., San Pedro.

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