The post office in Seco, in far southeastern Kentucky, is open two hours a day. It's one of thousands of rural USPS locations that has cut hours to reduce costs. (National Geographic photo)

"Rural post offices and mail carriers connect our smallest towns to the world and provide a sense of community. But a burdensome financial structure, and lack of federal aid amid a pandemic, threaten their future," Sarah Smarsh

reports

 for National Geographic


In addition to adeptly summarizing the necessity of the U.S. Postal Service to rural Americans and threats it faces (such as urbanization and privatization), Smarsh's photo-rich piece recounts her childhood in rural Kansas and what the mail meant for her and her family. Read more here.