Doctors. Nurses. Pharmacists. Grocery store workers. Mail carriers. UPS drivers. EMTs. Police officers. Bus drivers. These are some of the people spending each day on the COVID front lines.
Many of us have had the luxury of being able to work from home the past few months. We’ve been able to limit our exposure to COVID by getting food delivered or running into the grocery store for a few minutes once a week. But there are many people on the front lines – in healthcare and beyond – who have risked much higher exposure. These people deserve our thanks – not just in words, but in actions. Here are some ideas:
Buy lunch for your grocery workers.
Grocery stores sell $10 gift cards to fast food restaurants like Chick Fil a. Buy a dozen or so gift cards at the register and pass them out to whoever you see working that day. Grocery store workers are often making hourly wages, and yet they’re one of the highest exposed groups. Many can’t afford to stay home, even if they are elderly or immunocompromised.
Put together a gift basket for your mail carrier.
Put a basket on your porch with things like snacks, drinks, energy bars, flowers, playing cards, etc. Attach a note that says: “USPS: Thank you for all you do.” You can also do this for your UPS driver if you’ve been getting a lot of Amazon packages.
Buy coffee for your local fire station.
Buy a bunch of $5 gift cards at Starbucks and mail them to your local fire station to say thank you for your local firefighters.
Have your kids write cards.
Cards lovingly drawn by kids are so much more meaningful than a Hallmark card. As part of your kids’ homeschooling, have them make one card a day. After two weeks, collect all of the cards and mail them to your hospital (or give them to a friend or neighbor who works in a hospital to distribute). You could also make Get Well cards for patients in the hospital right now.
Get the neighborhood involved.
If someone in your neighborhood is on the front lines, find out what time they leave for work in the morning. Put a note in all of your neighbors’ mailboxes to come outside at that time with signs and cheer.
Donate to a good cause.
The Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Feeding America, Coalition for the Homeless – these are just some of the large organizations helping in this crisis. Or ask a frontline worker for their charity of choice and donate to that.
Offer your services.
If you have a service you can offer for free, do it. If you’re a therapist, this could include a free session for someone in healthcare. Maybe you knit and you can knit blankets for workers. Or you work in an autobody shop – offer a free oil change or car repair. Put a message out on your local Nextdoor network.
Donate blood or plasma.
The Red Cross is desperately in need of blood. If you’ve recovered from coronavirus, donate your plasma. If workers end up getting sick, they may very well need your donation.
Send a message to your online neighborhood chat board offering to petsit for any frontline workers. This could just be letting the dog outside during the day without your having to go inside their house at all.
Get your friends and family to record a brief thank you message (or your kids’ classes). Compile all the videos together into one and email it to your local hospital or police station.
Be creative about finding ways to say thank you beyond social media. Keep your eyes open for people who are putting themselves in harm’s way. This could be as simple as buying lunch for the cashier at the pharmacy. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of time or money.