Taking Care of the Caretakers

August 28, 2020

By: Ryan Carp

The last few months have been challenging. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the lives of millions of Americans. At the center of the fight against COVID-19 has been those individuals deemed to be “essential workers” – those who work in industries such as health care, agriculture, food service, and transportation. It seems only right that we consider supporting those that have supported many of us during these challenging times. Here are some ways you might do so.

Expressing your gratitude to essential workers

When I first mentioned supporting essential workers, donations – financial or otherwise – may have been the first method that came to mind. However, times are tough for many people; donations simply may not be feasible for many amidst the pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t support essential workers in other ways. Essential workers are not just struggling physically or financially – working on the front lines of COVID-19 is also mentally and emotionally draining. Therefore, providing emotional support to essential workers could be incredibly beneficial to their mental health and well- being.

One way to do this is to express your gratitude to the essential workers in your community, letting them know that you greatly appreciate their dedication and sacrifice. An example of this expression of gratitude comes from a collaboration between Deloitte and one of our long-standing community relationships: United Way Worldwide. To show their support for those working on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, Deloitte professionals have been invited to participate in a special volunteer opportunity with United Way – writing notes of appreciation and encouragement to essential workers. After signing up for the initiative, Deloitte professionals complete an online form that captures their message of support. United Way Worldwide then prints out the submitted message on a card and works with local United Ways to deliver the card to someone who needs it.

Traci Williams, senior manager, Deloitte Services LP, and a philanthropy champion for the Pittsburgh office, has participated in the program. Traci was looking to give back to front line workers in the absence of in-person volunteering. “This opportunity to write a note was perfect for me,” Traci says, “since it didn’t require a lot of time or money to participate and I felt like I contributed in a small way to thanking front line workers for their support.” So far, Traci has written one note to an essential worker, and while she has not yet heard if the message has been delivered, that closure isn’t necessary – “the fact that [she] did it was satisfaction enough.”

This letter-writing initiative is just one example of how you can support the essential workers in your community. You might send a batch of cookies to the nurse down the street, volunteer to babysit for your neighbor while they work weekends at the grocery store, or simply tell the bus driver “thank you” every time you board. Be creative! And whatever you choose to do, be sure to share it with your family and friends – kindness is contagious, after all!