To accommodate for consolidating the Mankato mail-processing center to the Minneapolis Processing and Distribution Center, mail will now be picked up in Sleepy Eye one time at 3:15 p.m. from the blue boxes outside and inside the post office beginning June 1.

Both literally and figuratively, the United States Postal Service delivers for America. Even in an increasingly digital world, the Postal Service remains part of the bedrock infrastructure of this nation's economy, serving its people and businesses and binding the nation together. The core function of the Postal Service is the safe, reliable, affordable delivery of mail and packages to every address in the country and its territories.

The timely service provided daily depends on an astonishing network of facilities, technology and people who collect, transport, process and deliver the nation's mail.

Last year the postal service announced that it planned to close the Mankato mail-processing center and consolidate originating mail (the canceling and initial sorting of mail) that was done at the Mankato Processing and Distribution Facility to the Minneapolis Processing and Distribution Center.

To accommodate for that change, mail will now be picked up in Sleepy Eye one time at 3:15 p.m. from the blue boxes outside and inside the post office beginning June 1.

According to Peter Nowacki, a spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service and who represents midwest states including Minnesota, single-piece First Class Mail volume has declined 37 percent over the last six years and the United States Post Office is losing about $25 million a day. In response, he said, the Postal Service is realigning its operational networks, with some mail processing operations being consolidated into larger operations.

"These moves will result in annual savings of approximately $2.1 billion nationwide by 2014. To make these consolidations, collection times in some areas are being adjusted to better align with our transportation and mail processing operating plans to ensure we can continue to meet service standards," Nowacki added.

That initial cost-cutting measure means that mail collected from post offices across southwestern and south-central Minnesota — all ZIP Codes beginning with 560 and 561 — will go to Minneapolis to be sorted and sent on to each piece's final destination.

For more than 235 years, the U.S. Postal Service has been delivering the nation's mail in snow, rain and the dark of night. However, tough economic and market conditions and unrealistic legislative expectations have created challenges that have never before been faced.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.