Most people who are involved in special needs ministries find ourselves wearing many hats.  On Sunday morning at 10:00AM, we are “the pastor.”  By the end of the day, we may be maintenance person, teacher, administrator.  By the end of the week, we have probably worn every hat in ministry there is to wear.  Maintaining an accurate and up-to-date data base is part of the miriad of tasks that can be frustrating in the course of your activity.  There are many reasons for the frustrations.  However, sending out a regular mailing makes even the most saintly matriarch want to pull out someone’s teeth. 

If you have ever done third-class or fourth-class mailing, you know that the US Postal Service is adamant about your having the zip-code plus four digits on your postage labels.  However, finding those last four digits can be an adventure in lunacy. 

Don’t even try the Postal Services’ web page.  Half of the numbers you request will not show up as valid addresses.  You must put into their system the exact address that THEY want to get your request answered.  I called the post office to inquire about this problem.  I was told that if the Postal Service website cannot give you the zip-code plus four, you should put 0000 (four zeros) at the end of the first five digits.  That worked for a time.

Yet, recently we were told that we must have the correct nine digits or we could not send out our mail.  All of our mail would be held back or returned to us.  That is when I discovered, MapQuest’s website will give you zip-code plus four digits.  You only need to put into the computer what you have; and the website will be able figure out what is needed to complete your task.  Almost every time you will receive the correct nine digits without any problem.

If you haven’t used MapQuest, you can Google it and it will come up.  If you don’t have MapQuest in your favorite’s column, put it there. 

Fishing for those elusive last four digits of the zip-code can be a frustrating time waster.  However, MapQuest makes the task easier than you can imagine.