Rural America: Under Siege
When the U. S. Postal Service announced it was considering closing 3,653 post offices, the news tore at the heart of rural communities throughout the country. Having already lost schools, banks and stores, many rural residents fear losing their post office will be the end of their small towns.

Arkansas, the second poorest state in the country, could be the hardest hit. It has 179 post offices on the potential closure list – 35 percent of the post offices in the state.

Rural towns in Arkansas grew up around farming and timber. Families have lived in their communities for generations, the younger generations often building their homes on the same land where their grandparents lived. For them, the post office is concrete evidence that their community exists.

In rural areas – where cell phone connections are unreliable and Internet service painfully slow –the post office is a community’s connection to the outside world, and residents are fighting with all they have to keep that connection.

Although they might just be a building and a ZIP Code to decision-makers in far-away cities, to rural communities, their post offices are a matter of their very identity, and evidence that their community counts.

Photography and Story by Jared Soares | Equal Voice Newspaper
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