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No Matter What Shows Up in the Mailbox, the Heart Behind it Stays the Same.

By Megan Koontz ’19
5/31/2019 5:00:00 AM

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From California to Kazakhstan, from South Florida to the coast of Australia, packages and letters addressed to JBU students flow in from every corner of the world. The treasures shipped from faraway places bring smiles to students’ faces, but they aren’t the only aspect of the mailroom that brightens a student’s day.

Janet Curry, the post office supervisor; Reta Leavitt, the post office clerk; and six work-study students engage with students, faculty and staff to ensure that mail is delivered on time and to the proper destinations.

Last year, approximately 40,000 packages and letters were delivered to the JBU mailroom, 1,845 of which were shipped from FedEx and over 38,000 from the United States Postal Service. 

“That’s a lot,” Curry said. “It’s crazy how much mail goes through this small university. On a regular day, we receive at least 100 packages.” 

Curry is proud that her small staff handles such a volume of mail. 

“I’ve been here 12 years. We’ve had about 200 more students [now] than we did 12 years ago, so we get a lot more mail,” Curry said. 

Curry and Leavitt said the package volume has continued to increase because many students have developed a habit of ordering everything online, even items that could easily be purchased at Walmart five minutes from campus. 

“One of our work-studies last year ordered a gallon of windshield wiper fluid,” Curry said. “I said to him, ‘You could go right down there to Walmart and buy it.’ And he said, ‘Well why, when I could just sit at my computer and order it?’”

The mailroom employees never know what to expect, which keeps the job interesting. Curry said that several years ago, they received a potato. 

“It had stamps on it, and it was addressed right on the potato,” Curry said. Also, “One year, one of the mothers thought it would be nice for her daughter’s soccer team to each have a flip flop. One single flip flop. It was addressed and stamped on the flip flop, not in a box.” 

In addition to these peculiar items, the mailroom has seen things like pineapples, kayaks, watermelons, a six-foot long keyboard and bouquets of flowers. 

In fact, one student’s dad has sent her flowers every Tuesday since her sophomore year. 

“Every Tuesday a bouquet of flowers comes for her,” Curry said. “That’s been fun. Sometimes she keeps them. Sometimes she sends them on to one of her girlfriends to bless them. We have wonderful young people here that are thoughtful and considerate.”

Most recently, some odd car parts have filtered through the mailroom. 

“Smelly tires and a bumper,” Curry said. “The most recent was a bumper.”

Leavitt chuckled and said, “We hope whoever ordered these comes and gets them soon.” 

Even though students and families can connect via text and email, more packages are delivered to the JBU campus than ever before. Receiving a package of treats or a handwritten letter helps make a student's busy day, filled with classes, meetings and homework, less grueling.

Kinzee Mayo, junior social studies education major, receives two packages roughly every month from her family or friends. 

“I absolutely love getting packages and letters in the mail,” Mayo said. “It reminds me that my family and friends value me, and they understand how hard college can be sometimes.”

Texting and email are great tools for keeping in touch with family and friends back home, but for students the personal touch of a care package or handwritten letter means a lot more.

“[My family and friends] take the time to send me something that will make me smile, and I am so grateful for that,” Mayo said.

No matter what comes in or out of the mailroom, you can count on Curry and Leavitt to deliver them with a smile.

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