Life Connected: All-Volunteer Post Office Delivers Would-Be Wages to Charity

A special post office in the San Pedro area has found a unique way to help connect with others in need, one letter and package at a time.

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    More than 500 members of the Assistance League have contributed 160,000 hours of time over the past three years, enough to fund low-cost dental care for children, give kids much-needed school supplies, and buy Teddy Bears for traumatized children and the elderly. Kathy Vara reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Jan. 15, 2013.

    Whether it's the package that has to arrive at its destination on time or the letter that needs the proper label, one California post office is sure to deliver, even if they don't get paid.

    "We are all volunteers, and so we don't receive a salary or retirement or anything," said Shirley Tyler, of the Assistance League of San Pedro.

    Their post office is the only one of its kind in the nation and is staffed entirely by members of the Assistance League.

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    No one who works there has been paid for their work in 30 years. Instead, money from the U.S. Post Office that would have gone to the employees goes to fund charities in San Pedro. Their work connects people through the mail, but it also connects them to those in their own community.

    Charities include Operation School Bell, which provides school clothes, shoes and supplies to thousands of low income children.

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    "They will be better people, better children and that will in turn help the communities they grow in,” said Dokhy Sebastian, of the Assistance League.

    More than 500 members have contributed 160,000 hours of time over the past three years, enough to fund low-cost dental care for children.

    "This is treatment that wouldn't be provided otherwise, because these are the working poor and so they can’t qualify for other care," said dentist Dr. Lois Velasco.

    Next door to the post office, more volunteers work in the League's gift shop, half the proceeds from which go to charity.

    Others run Operation Hug, which buys Teddy Bears for traumatized children and the elderly. So many charities connected by one small post office, and one very big idea to give back.

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