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Nanjemoy residents gathered outside their post office one afternoon last week to learn the future of postal operations in their community.

Around 50 people gathered to listen to remarks from U.S. Postal Service Waldorf Officer in Charge Cheryl French Jan. 29 regarding the results of the survey mailed to town residents.

New hours

Weekday hours of operation at the Nanjemoy Post Office at 9365 Beaverdam Road will change from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Saturday hours will remain the same, 9 a.m.-noon.

Go to usps.com/ourfuturenetwork and click the “Preserving Post Offices” tab.

USPS mailed 1,172 surveys, 297 of which were returned. Of the responses, 86 percent of residents indicated that they favored realigning hours of operation. Two percent supported delivery, none favored the village post office or conducting business at nearby post offices, and 11 percent did not select any of the options.

Nanjemoy’s post office will be reduced to operating seven hours a day during the week, opening at 10 a.m. rather than 9 a.m., and Saturday hours of operation will not change.

In July, the Maryland Independent reported that the Ironsides Post Office was closing its doors. In October, during a similar meeting at the Bel Alton post office, USPS representatives announced that the Bel Alton hours would be scaled down from eight to just four, Mount Victoria from four to two and Cobb Island hours would remain unaffected. This month, the Faulkner post office also saw a reduction in hours to four a day.

French said the effects of the USPS’ current financial situation have been felt nationally and have affected all offices, not simply small operations like the ones in rural Charles County.

“Initially when they wanted to shut down offices, they went back and decided to try and reduce hours,” French said. “It’s not a local decision. It’s not one we have control over, but it’s based on your input and your use of your local post office.”

French said that in a few years’ time, if post office use increases, hours might return to what they once were.

“We’re a business. Like any business, we have to find a way to remain viable in these economic times,” French said. “I can only encourage you to please use your post office. We’re there for you for service, for your business.”

French said the exact date that the change in hours will take effect has yet to be determined.

Shannon Harris, who serves as the postmaster at Welcome as well as the administrator of the Nanjemoy office, said the Nanjemoy location serves around 1,000 families daily and that the carriers for the office’s two routes use their own vehicles rather than USPS trucks, as there is no gas station nearby.

Millie Hamman, a 36-year resident of Nanjemoy, expressed her affection for what she described as the town’s social hub.

“We love our post office. It’s a focal point of the community,” Hamman said. “You can tell by all the people here today. It brings people out. It’s the social aspect of it. For some, it might be the only social contact that they get during the day.”

Former Del. Samuel “Buddy” Linton, a lifelong Nanjemoy resident, said he’d prepared a list of post offices that used to operate in the area that have been closed and that he hoped the Nanjemoy office would not eventually go down the same path.

“It’s just one post office with a few employees, around six or so, I think,” Linton said. “It serves an area equal to [Washington, D.C.] in square mileage. We are the largest town in Charles County, but we have the fewest people. We’re left out on so much down here. It puts us to more expense. Most of us have to drive when we need stamps. This won’t stop that. It’s totally unsatisfactory. I don’t see any justification. It’ll cost the community 10 times as much. A post office in an area like this can’t pay the salaries of six people.”

The post office has four employees, according to Postal Service officials.

lrenner@somdnews.com