Different Ways to Show Gratitude to Essential Workers

By Allison Bolt, Special Events Coordinator

We are all deeply thankful to the Western New Yorkers who serve in critical services on the COVID-19 frontlines. This involves health care employees, first responders, grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, postal workers, delivery drivers, child care workers and many other essential jobs. Not only are they ensuring we have essential care, supplies and services, but they are often doing it while potentially exposing themselves and their families to COVID-19. 

Essential employees face new pressures of introducing social distancing steps to their careers, adjusting working hours, increasing childcare needs with school closures and many other challenges, all while serving our Western New York community in this challenging period. 

You can thank these essential workers during COVID-19 in a variety of ways. Here are just a few ideas:

Say Thank You
It may sound simple but saying thank you to an essential worker is the easiest thing you can do! When you make an essential trip out of the home to the grocery store or the pharmacy, make sure you thank the essential workers behind the counter. Be kind and compassionate as they are dealing with their own worries, frustrations, and those of their customers. A simple thank you can go a long way!

Hang Signs
Want to keep the kids busy while also expressing your gratitude? Have them make signs thanking essential workers for all that they do. Use any supplies you have in the house to make these thank you signs. When finished you can display the signs in your house windows, front lawn, garage, or even leave a note in the mailbox for your postal worker. 

Drop Off Meals
During COVID-19 several community members have gone the extra mile to thank essential employees by arranging for meals and baked goods to be given to essential staff. If you intend to do so, you can arrange it with the essential organization so that the delivery can safely carried out. When you want to do this, but cannot afford to do it alone, get friends and family to contribute to the initiative, and you will all give back together.

Make Some Noise
Many groups are now giving healthcare staff a daily encouragement by applauding, cheering and sounding horns during their shift change in the evening. Check out Facebook community groups and local newspapers to see whether this is happening in your town-or just wait until you hear the ruckus in the evening and participate! If this is not yet established in your community you can be the local leader who begins it.

Support Their Families
During COVID-19 many frontline staff are working longer hours. They support us, while members of their own families are at home on their own. Help essential workers by supporting their family members. When you do your own supply run, pick up food for them. On the other hand, take it a step further and make some meals for the family so they do not have to stress about it when they come home from work.

Donate What You Can
The shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) makes going to work dangerous for many essential employees. If you happen to have extra masks and gloves in your personal stash or through your work, consider donating them. 

If you are a crafty person, consider making face masks and donating them to essential businesses in need. Follow this link on how to make a face mask.

Also many healthcare organizations are looking for isolation gowns to help protect their frontline workers. Click this link for an isolation gown pattern. 

If you don’t have any PPE to donate but still want to help out, consider making a monetary donation to the organization. Monetary donations go towards urgent needs and help supply the frontline staff with PPE. If you are interested in donating to Niagara Hospice, please follow this link to our Giving page

Stay Safe at Home
The very best thing you can do to thank essential workers is to keep yourself safe at home so we can avoid COVID-19 from spreading. Wash your hands regularly and remain indoors except for when absolutely required grocery shopping trips, medical appointments, picking up prescriptions, walking pets and supporting the needy. When outside, use social distancing to stay at least six feet away from others.

We are all in this together. Thank you to all those who are doing their best to keep us healthy and safe.

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