5 Ways to Thank Essential Workers

While many of us are stuck inside, safe in our homes, most essential workers are still making their commutes into work every day. Whether they’re preparing the food we eat, saving lives in the ICU, delivering packages, or working in a dispensary to provide medicine to patients; these individuals are putting themselves at risk to ensure that the essential services we rely on remain open.

As a token of appreciation to all those that are putting their lives at risk to help service others, we have created a list of 5 ways you can thank the essential workers in your life.

Drop Off Meals

What better way to show your support, than with food! Many essential workers do not have the time or energy to think about meal prep. Consider dropping off coffee and doughnuts in the morning or buying lunch for your local dispensary staff, doctor’s office staff, EMTs, police officers, firefighters, grocery clerks, or anyone else working to provide for others at this time. If you have the means, consider buying meals for essential workers when you order your own food, or organize friends and family to contribute to a meal for a local business. If that isn’t affordable right now you can also ask local restaurants or bakeries to see if any are willing to donate food to essential workers.

Donate PPE

The national shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) can make it very dangerous for essential employees to work safely. Protective equipment such as masks and face shields, cleaning supplies, and hand sanitizer can often be in short supply where it is most needed. Before you donate it is a good idea to make sure to check with the business what is needed, because sometimes what is most needed can change. Check websites of hospitals and health centers to see if they have information on their websites about what to donate and how. Visit GetUsPPE.org, to learn more about locations in your area in need and instructions for how to drop-off items.

Sending Encouraging Messages

An easy way to give essential workers a little something to smile about on their commute is by sending essential workers an encouraging message. You can place signs in your home or car window, or in a public space where they can see it. If you are expecting a package, leave a short thank you note to your delivery person. Communities everywhere are joining in together to participate in organized thank you sessions to cheer for essential workers. Check neighborhood social media groups and local newspapers to see if any are scheduled in your area. If your community is not yet doing this, consider starting your own appreciation shout-out for essential workers. You can celebrate essential workers, bring some cheer to the neighborhood, and feel more connected to others around you. Three birds with one stone!

Tip Essential Workers Who Service You

With most of the world ordered to stay home and isolated to keep them safe, most essential employees do not have that option. Although the risk associated with their jobs has increased, most workers do not receive hazard pay. In addition to thanking food delivery drivers, mail carriers, grocery store cashiers, and other essential workers, giving a generous tip goes a long way to saying thank you.

Offer Support to Essential Employees Families

Many essential workers are working longer hours than normal during the pandemic. While they are serving us, their own family members may be home alone. You can help support their family by dropping off prepared meals or picking up groceries for them when you are at the grocery store. Or simply just reach out and ask if they need anything. Even if they say no, you can let them know you are here to support them when needed.


Along with thanking essential workers, it is also important to remember those in our society most in need are also suffering because of this pandemic. Food pantries are under unprecedented pressure because of increased need for food assistance, decreased donations because of restaurant closures, and a reduced pool of volunteers. If you are able to safely lend your assistance please help out charities doing essential work, or find a foodbank near you and see how you can help.

No matter how you choose to thank essential workers, the most important thing you can do to thank someone is by simply saying “thank you”. When you interact with someone who is providing a needed service, express your appreciation and be friendly and kind. Let them know how grateful you are for the sacrifices they are making to serve others at this time. During these stressful times, it is important to remember that even the smallest gesture of kindness can go a long way.

For other helpful resources check out our COVID-19 resource page.