A USPS employee delivers mail on Madison Street on May 18. | Maria Maxham/Editor

For months, some Forest Park residents have been frustrated with slow mail delivery from the United States Postal Service (USPS). They report only getting mail every few days or receiving bills so late they missed payments.

“I haven’t gotten any mail for like a week now,” said Arturo Abasta on May 21, who lives on Madison Street between Circle and Harlem avenues.

Resident Nancy Gray, who lives near Roosevelt Road and Lathrop Avenue, said she’s been experiencing problems with mail delivery for a while.

“I have gone days without delivery, and the suddenly a backlog of mail arrives,” Gray said. Sometimes, she reported, post officers leave mail on a chair on the porch, where it might sit overnight, or have left the lid on the mailbox open so it’s exposed to the elements.

“The worst happened recently,” said Gray, who receives prescription medication through the mail. “A med I ordered didn’t arrive, so I called the druggist. They assured me it had been sent but overnighted a new refill. A week later, the original order arrived. Lord only knows what corner of the post office it was sitting in.” She has since switched to paying bills online because she has no faith that she’ll get the bills through the mail on time.

“Mail delivery has been awful,” said resident Lin Scollard, a former village employee. Scollard, who lives on the north side of town, said that ever since their regular mail delivery person took a new position, she’s never certain if mail will arrive on time or not.

“If we are lucky, we do get mail approximately twice a week from employees who take the overtime to cover our area. It is challenging at times for them and us,” Scollard said.

The USPS blamed the pandemic for slower-than-normal delivery. Sharrie Johnson, spokesperson for the USPS, said the postal service apologizes for any inconvenience but explained that the pandemic is still affecting delivery.

“Some customers may receive mail every other day as we match the workload created by the impacts of the ongoing [COVID-19] pandemic,” Johnson said in an email. “We appreciate the patience of our customers and the efforts of employees as conditions change on a day-to-day basis.”

But while Johnson said “every other day” might be what people are seeing, customers talk about not getting mail for days at a time.

Forest Park residents are not alone in spotty mail delivery. Wednesday Journal reported earlier this year about items failing to arrive in Oak Parkers’ mailboxes on time, and Riverside Brookfield Landmark this month said that USPS customers in both Riverside and North Riverside complain they sometimes go days without receiving any mail.

Nationwide, it appears to be an issue as well. CBS News reported on May 10 that across the United States, one in five pieces of mail arrive late to households and businesses, according to postal agency data looking at the first three months of 2021.

Johnson said customers can go to the usps.com website and click on “Contact us” at the bottom of the page or go directly to https://usps.force.com/emailus/s/ to provide feedback or ask questions.

“The Postal Service will diligently continue to investigate customers’ concerns and correct deficiencies to improve service to our communities,” Johnson said.