Always in so much gratitude and respect for our first responders (everyone designated or trained to respond to an emergency), I now have one more reason to love on them. Our healthcare workers in the emergency rooms across the nation, firefighters and police officers are some very special hometown heroes who are showing up for duty and sacrificing their health for ours.
I have friends who have donated meals and supplies to our hospitals. Some are making masks and leaving them on their front steps for pickup. I've made a few trips to DIY stores for eye goggles, face shields, even scored a donation of the last P95 face mask on hand at Giant Oak Automotive to provide to the healthcare workers I know and I am so grateful for. (Thank you, Mike!)
Here are some more ideas for ways we can show our support and gratitude for our neighbors on the front line:
First and foremost, Stay Home. Don't add to the problem.
Send a personal text message or make a phone call to the first responders you are connected with to check in, thank them for what they do, and see if they need anything.
Round up masks and other PPE from your own stash and from business owners who are likely to have a few on hand to donate to your local hospital.
Give these first responders a social media shoutout, tagging those you personally know in your post. Sometimes just being seen can go a long way in bolstering someone's spirits.
Venmo or PayPal donation money to the first responders you know. Whether they use it for parking, groceries, a cup of coffee, or to purchase their own PPE, even a little gift can warm their heart.
A two-for-one: Call a local unit to arrange for a local restaurant to cater takeout delivery meal for the staff. Be sure to work with management to ensure the food stays sanitary.
Help first responders with childcare. Many are torn between helping older parents and caring for their kids, posing a unique health risk challenge.
Volunteer with the Red Cross, which is desperately seeking volunteers to assist with COVID-19 disease efforts (many of them are work-from-home): https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/become-a-volunteer.html
Donate blood. There is a shortage of blood throughout this crisis. You can make an appointment here: https://www.redcross.org/give-blood.html