Originally created 12/09/96

Deadlines for holiday parcels, mail nearing



Need to send Christmas wishes or a gift to friends and relatives overseas?

Then log off and head to the nearest post office.

Patrons who can't make it to the post office today and are unwilling to pay extra for express delivery service will have to settle for belated holiday wishes.

The international mail deadline, to ensure packages and cards are delivered by Christmas, is today for Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Southeast Asia, the Far East and the Middle East. Packages and cards to Canada must be mailed no later than Friday to guarantee Christmas delivery.

Deadlines have already passed for mail to Africa, the Caribbean and Central and South America, but packages may still be sent global priority or express mail for an additional cost.

According to the Public Affairs Office at Fort Gordon, Tuesday is the deadline to mail Christmas care packages to troops in Bosnia.

On Nov. 27, the day before Thanksgiving, 10 soldiers from the 513th Military Intelligence Brigade left Fort Gordon to join peacekeeping forces in Bosnia. The brigade has about 200 soldiers deployed to Bosnia and other hot spots in the world.

The soldiers, deployed for at least six months, will miss the holidays with their families and would appreciate letters from home, even those sent by strangers, said Lt. Col. Jerry Moates, brigade chaplain.

"It encourages soldiers tremendously to hear from home, to know that someone is interested enough to write them," said Chaplain Moates, who recommends sending videos, uplifting news articles, comics, riddles, puzzles, compact discs and cassette tapes.

"They live for mail call," he said.

Soldiers also enjoy baked goods that will keep for one to three weeks, individual servings of trail mix, homemade crafts, video games with batteries, pens and stationery, current magazines, holiday decorations, books, hard candy and nuts.

The military has set up a special address until Jan. 15 for holiday mail to Bosnia. Send care packages and cards to: Any Soldier Mail (Bosnia); Operation Joint Endeavor; APO, AE 09135.

The U.S. Postal Service has not set deadlines for delivery of mail in the United States, but "we just encourage people to mail as early as possible," said Carol Klein, customer relations coordinator for Augusta's Eighth Street post office.

Cards and packages to other people in Augusta are usually delivered within a day, Ms. Klein said. Delivery to other cities in Georgia normally takes two days, and out-of-state mail should arrive in three days, she said.

"But people need to realize also with the heavy volume it's going to be really, really hard to get all those things processed in time," she said.