As the entire world struggles to stay home to slow the spread of COVID-19, first responders and medical staff go about their business as usual. Many in urban areas are overwhelmed right now. There are countless stories on social media about doctors and nurses who try to make people’s last moments as comfortable as possible. However, they also struggle seeing those people isolated without a single loved one by their sides.
Although the numbers change hourly, as of March 31, 2020, the CDC indicated 163,539 cases of Coronavirus in the United States, with 2,860 deaths. The White House task force’s press briefing the same day indicated we could see as many as 100,000 to 240,000 deaths from the pandemic. President Donald J. Trump warned the country we will have a rough two weeks ahead.
Those on the frontlines of this disease aren’t soldiers, but first responders and those in the medical community. They are under tremendous pressure at the moment and worried about their families and what they might bring home to them. Businesses around the country have stepped up to try to help ease a bit of that stress. You can show them how much you appreciate their dedication without spending a lot of money you might not have in the suddenly tight economy.
1. Send a Thank You Card
Imagine working long shifts that are nonstop. You run from bed to bed, trying to keep people alive. Not only is the medical community dealing with those with the virus, but all the other typical health emergencies. One thing you can do if you have a neighbor or know someone who works in the medical field is by sending them a thank you card. You can design a thank you card geared personally to that person. However, even a quick, handwritten note that you and your employees appreciate all they’re doing will mean a lot to the person.
2. Dole Out Recognition
If you’d like to give your local medical community something a little more concrete to show your appreciation, create an award and present it to them. You might need to wait for the pandemic to pass before you can offer a physical trophy. Host a dinner and bring in someone to speak to them about life after the epidemic. Tell a story about heroic acts you saw out of the person.
Create beautiful plaques or trophies that state your appreciation. Make it something they’ll want to display in a place of honor to remind them of the important role they played during one of the most difficult times in our country’s history.
3. Set Special Hours
Imagine working long shifts day and night and feeling tired to the bone. Now, imagine you have children who need feeding and the stores all close before you get off work due to shortened hours. Not only that, but the few places open have bare shelves.
If your business is essential and still operating, set aside special hours for first responders to come in and shop. Keep in mind that nurses and doctors often work unusual shifts and may not be able to come into the store during shortened daytime hours. Have one late night a week just for first responders and medical staff. Offer curbside pickup on arrangement so you can meet their needs.
4. Send Lunch or Dinner
Even though drive-throughs and deliveries are still open, it may be difficult for medical workers to get out and get something to eat during busy shifts. Contact your local hospitals and see if you can order a lunch or dinner delivery for them. Your business can treat them to a meal simply by phoning it in and having it delivered. It won’t cost you much to serve an emergency ward or a floor of the hospital.
Another idea is to create some comfort foods, such as baked goods, and deliver them to the break room for hospital employees. You may even want to get your employees who enjoy baking involved in the process, so the staff has a variety of goodies from which to choose.
5. Go Shopping
As mentioned before, getting to the stores during open hours is difficult for those working in the medical community. One thing you could do is go shopping for them. Offer to pick up a grocery order or take a list, get what they need, and deliver it to their door.
Some items are particularly hard to find at the moment, such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Talk to your contacts and see what items you can collect to fully stock the person’s home and keep them from worrying about minor issues such as running out of bath tissue or sanitizer wipes.
Face masks are in short supply in some areas. If your business does any type of manufacturing or you own sewing machines, you may want to sew some face covers with filters in them to hand out to your local nursing homes, hospitals and other medical staff.
6. Give Discounts
Offer discounts to medical personnel and first responders. Even a 15% discount shows you appreciate their hard work and dedication to the community. If you can afford to give a bigger discount, such as providing a meal at your cost, then do so.
You might not be able to afford to give out free items to everyone, but you can do your part by offering what deals you can afford and expressing how much you appreciate what they’re doing. These are hard times, and everyone working on the frontlines needs building up a bit.
Host a Party—Later
If there is one thing people miss right now, it’s gathering with others. When the pandemic passes, and it eventually will, it’s going to be time to celebrate a hard-won fight. Host a party for your local medical staff. Feed them, thank them, invite people they helped heal to come in and share their appreciation. Serve cake and champagne and usher in a new Roaring 20s that rivals the first one.
Lexie is a digital nomad and graphic designer. If she’s not traveling to various parts of the country, you can find her at the local flea markets or hiking with her goldendoodle. Check out her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.
Interesting related article: “What is the Coronavirus?“