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Connection Stories

Unsung Heroes: 6 Ways to Support Essential Workers

December 04, 2020

How to show your gratitude for essential workers during the pandemic.


As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans are staying home, working remotely and switching their children to online coursework. But some are still expected to report for duty — these are “essential workers," and they're risking their lives daily. Today, there are over 55 million essential workers in the U.S. made up of 12 sectors, including emergency services, food and agriculture, health care, transportation/delivery, and government services. Many are unable to see their friends and family for fear of spreading the virus, so it's never been more important to show our appreciation for their hard work. Here are six ways to support these unsung heroes.


Send Food


Some essential workers are so busy, it's easy to miss a meal. That's why donating food is such a great way to show your thanks. There are many ways to go about it — bake some treats for your local fire station, order takeout for the teachers at your kids' school, send pizza delivery to a nearby hospital. If you don't have time to arrange it yourself, there are tons of organizations you can support. Purchase meals through Feed the Frontlines NYC, or donate to Pizza vs. Pandemic. No matter how you send food, know that you're helping to fill some VIB's — some very important bellies. 


Donate Equipment


Many essential workers, like medical professionals, first responders and teaching staff, are experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE). If you happen to have extra masks, face-shields, gloves, disinfecting wipes or other protective equipment, consider donating it. See if your local schools and hospitals are taking donations, or check out GetUsPPE.org and request to donate. Don't have extra PPE to spare? No problem. GetUsPPE.org also takes monetary donations, as does ThriveGlobal.com and the NYC Emergency Relief Fund


Tip Workers


It may sound hard to believe, but simply tipping your delivery person or postal service worker can make a huge difference. Keep in mind that most of these workers don't have the option of staying home, and most are not receiving salaries that reflect the daily risks they're taking. In addition, few frontline workers are receiving hazard pay (extra wages for working in dangerous conditions). If you're able, make sure to tip cashiers, restaurant workers, delivery personnel or anyone who's providing you a service during this difficult time. 


Make a Front Yard Sign


One way to show your appreciation for essential workers is to literally put it out where everyone can see it — in your front yard! Making a DIY front yard sign is great way to let your community know you care, and it can even double as a fun arts and crafts activityfor you and your kids. You can create anything from a simple “Thank You" message to an elaborate array of images or drawings. You can even add Instagrammable hashtags, like #yardsign or #essentialworkers. Don't be afraid to get creative — there are endless ways to visualize your gratitude. 


Reach Out 


Do you know any healthcare workers, teachers, frontline personnel or delivery people personally? Consider reaching out to the essential workers in your life. As many are currently cut off from seeing family and friends, a simple check in can make all the difference in the world. Ask if they need anything, like food, household items or clothing, and offer to send it along or drop it off. Or simply just ask how they're doing — sometimes all a person needs is to know that someone is listening. 


Stay Home


Essential workers are making daily sacrifices to keep you and your family safe, so a great way to say thank you is to help them out — by doing everything in your power to stay healthy. Stay home if you're able. Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask when in public and practice social distancing. By staying safe, we can help to slow the spread of the virus as a community, which is probably the best thing we can do for those on the frontline.


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