BELLMAWR, N.J. (CBS) — Eyewitness News is learning more about massive delays at the U.S. Post Office, just one week before Christmas. Some packages have been sitting since last month, with the pandemic driving more Americans toward online shopping.

CBS3 has discovered packages sitting in trucks and at a USPS sorting facility, unable to be sorted because of staffing shortages. Some packages have been stuck since before the election.

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(credit: Philly APWU Local 89)

Combine that with what postal officials are calling unprecedented volume thanks to the pandemic, and you have a backlog that’s left many customers and their mail in limbo.

At the Bellmawr post office, the rush is on to ship the last-minute holiday gifts.

(credit: Philly APWU Local 89)

“This parking lot is crazy,” one woman said.

“It’s so busy,” Ashley Matousek said.”I’ve never seen the parking lot this full.”

Friday is the cut-off for first class mail to arrive before Christmas.

“There was a woman in front of me that was upset that her package hadn’t made it to where it needed to be,” Matousek said.

The USPS is issuing a consumer alert, saying they are experiencing “unprecedented volume increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts of COVID-19.”

CBS3 has obtained photos from Postal Worker’s Union Local 89 representative showing mail waiting to be sorted out of the USPS Philadelphia sorting facility on Lindbergh Boulevard. The picture shows political mailings delayed since before the election.

(credit: Philly APWU Local 89)

“We know we are late and we know what the situation is like,” Marge Dougherty said.

Dan and Marge Dougherty waited in the long line this morning at the Fairmount Station Post Office.

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Retail experts predict online sales to jump by more than 33% this holiday season.

(credit: Philly APWU Local 89)

“We’re prepared for it to arrive whenever it gets there,” Marge Dougherty said.

They’re one of many who may have to pack their patience, along with their holiday presents this year.

“It will be a New Year’s package,” Dougherty said.

(credit: Philly APWU Local 89)

Saturday is the deadline for priority mail to arrive by Christmas.

UPS and FedEx have each hired thousands of seasonal workers to try to keep up with demand.

They’ve even capped some major retailers on how many packages they can ship this holiday season.

CBS3’s Alicia Roberts reports.

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