To be clear, the primary and best way to show your support and gratitude for the essential workers who are battling coronavirus on the front lines is to stay home. Medical staff members are already putting themselves at risk every day by showing up to work at hospitals, testing sites and care centers, and the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect these brave professionals is to practice social distancing.
But if you’d like to go beyond your duty of staying home and offer up an expression of gratitude to those who are risking their lives at work each day, you’re in luck. There are plenty of ways to show your thanks without even leaving your house and here are some of the best ones we’ve found.
Support The Front Line Appreciation Group
Two women in New Jersey came up with a smart solution to the conundrum of how to simultaneously help struggling restaurants and also thank healthcare workers on the front line of the fight against COVID-19: Front Line Appreciation Group (FLAG). Using donations, local FLAG chapters work with restaurants in their communities to supply meals and goodies to local hospital workers. It’s a rare win-win situation in a crisis that has resulted in so much loss.
And while FLAG started as a grassroots effort in a couple of New Jersey towns, there are now 68 chapters in 20 states, with two of the most recent ones launching in Hawaii and Montana. Check out the FLAG website to make a donation or find a chapter near you — and if there isn’t one nearby, you can start a FLAG chapter in your own community!
Help Supply Healthcare Workers With Personal Protective Equipment
Hospitals and clinics around the U.S. are in critical need of medical gear like face masks and shields, exam gloves, isolation gowns and more. In collaboration with public health authorities, nonprofit organizations and businesses, Direct Relief is providing personal protective equipment and other medical items to healthcare professionals in need.
Donations to Direct Relief will help the group continue this crucial service for front line workers who need it most, and it feels good to contribute to this cause. As the Direct Relief donations page puts it, “Giving is good medicine.”
To see updates about where your donations are going, follow Direct Relief on Instagram.
Slice Out Hunger’s Pizza vs. Pandemic initiative works to identify hospitals, shelters, clinics and other care centers that would benefit from having some hot pizza pies delivered to staff members. The organization accepts donations from fellow pizza-lovers like yourself, then identifies a care center to be the recipient of the “pizza love” and arranges for the pizzas from a local pizzeria to be delivered to the care center.
It’s another case where you’re helping restaurants and helping people on the front lines of the outbreak without having to leave your house!
Donate A Pair of Allbirds Shoes To A Healthcare Worker
Popular sustainable shoe company Allbirds has launched a “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair” program to supply its uber-comfy and durable shoes to healthcare workers. By purchasing one of the many choices of a men’s or women’s “donation bundle,” you’ll receive one pair of shoes and a pair of the company’s trendy Wool Runners will be donated to a healthcare professional in the Allbirds community.
So, for $146, you can nab a pair of the cute Tree Breezers flats, featuring a light knit mesh material made from sustainably harvested eucalyptus pulp, and know that you’re helping to comfort the tired feet of someone on the front lines of the coronavirus battle at the same time.
Donate Girl Scout Cookies
The Girl Scouts of America are making it mighty easy to send some sweet cheer to hospitals and care centers around the country. By donating Girl Scout Cookies to front line workers, you’ll also be supporting the Girl Scouts who are not allowed to sell cookies in person this year. One healthcare worker whose hospital got a donation of these sweet treats was Dr. Shetal Shah, a New York pediatrician, who tweeted a message of thanks below to the girls who sent them!
Check out the Girl Scouts website for information about how to donate cookies, because what’s more comforting during times of crisis than some classic Thin Mints?
Thank you to @girlscouts troops 3095 & 3751 for their generous donation of cookies to our NICU staff working to keep babies safe & healthy. Fighting a pandemic makes you hungry! #OneGoodThing @NicoleB_MD @NYSAAPCH2 @DrToddWo @AmerAcadPeds pic.twitter.com/S4aZT1WqKR
— Shetal Shah (@NICUBatman) March 23, 2020
Tip Essential Workers
While some retailers like Target and Amazon have provided pay bumps for their staff in a nod to the danger they’re facing by exposing themselves to crowds of people at work each day, plenty of other essential workers are not receiving any extra pay despite the health risks they’re taking simply by showing up to work.
Consider tipping people who are providing these services for little or no extra compensation, such as cashiers, delivery drivers and postal workers (note that $20 is the maximum tip allowed for postal workers).
Make Signs And Cheer For Your Local Front Line Workers
A simple cardboard sign with the words, “Thank You, Front Line Workers,” can go a surprisingly long way to warming the hearts of medical personnel working long hours to care for COVID-19 patients. It’s easy to create a sign of thanks and tape it up in your window or post it on your lawn for medical staff and other essential workers to see during their commute. It costs almost nothing and could brighten the day for someone who sees a lot of darkness right now.
Meanwhile, in many cities around the globe, residents have been heading to their windows, balconies and porches to make some audible expressions of gratitude by cheering in appreciation for their local heroes putting their lives at risk each day. It’s an easy way to loudly thank your town’s essential workers if you don’t have the extra money for some of the other options we’ve listed.
Offer Your Property To Front Line Workers
Airbnb has launched a program to provide first responders and healthcare workers with private housing while they’re working on the front lines so that they can reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other members of their households.
If you’re an Airbnb host, you have most likely had to cancel all of your guests’ stays during this time anyway, so it’s worth considering making your space available to some brave healthcare professionals in need of private housing. The COVID-19 responders who will stay in these spaces have been reviewed by Airbnb, and the company also asks hosts to commit to rigorous cleaning protocols to ensure the safety of the guests.
If you don’t have an Airbnb space to offer, you can still make a donation through Airbnb, which will go to Airbnb’s nonprofit partners that connect verified COVID-19 responders with free housing.
If you own a motor home, a volunteer-run Facebook group is matching recreational vehicle (RV) owners with healthcare workers who are fighting COVID-19 and want a place to stay away from their families between shifts. The group is at 28,000 members and growing, so if you have a vehicle to offer up, check out the page and follow the procedures listed!