Essential workers are those that are on the front lines right now during COVID-19. As the world waits for the curve to flatten, essential workers risk their lives each time they leave the house to go to work. While we can say “thank you” to these hard workers, we can also show our appreciation in other practical ways during these difficult times. Read on as we discuss the best gifts to share with your loved ones that are essential works during the pandemic.

1. Give Away Gift Cards

Essential workers work long hours and spend a significant amount of their time away from their families, with little time to enjoy the simple things like coffee or a meal. You can help the essential workers in your life by giving away gift cards to pay for lunch, coffee, or dinner for their family. Consider using Cash App, Venmo, PayPal, and other money transfer apps to send them a virtual gift card or cash as a thank you.

Another way to support essential workers is to buy gift cards from local restaurants. This way, you’re saying “thank you” to your loved ones while supporting a local businesses and their essential workers as well.

2. Celebrate with Applause

Sometimes a small show of one’s appreciation can go a long way. Another way many are choosing to show their appreciation for essential workers is to do so with a round of applause. While it’s important to stay at home during these times, if you happen to be on a grocery store run and see someone in scrubs or pass by another essential worker, cheering or clapping is a nice touch to say “thanks”.

3. Give Away Self Care Products

Self-care should be prioritized during these anxiety-driven times. Essential workers need to practice self-care but often lack the time to do so. Gift the essential workers in your life with relaxing presents like bubble baths, face masks, tea, and similar items that will encourage “me time”.

Another self-care gift idea for the essential workers in your life care for themselves is pain spray. This type of spray will help soothe achy muscles that occur as a result of the long hours spent at work.

4. Offer Your Support

Appreciation can take on many different forms and support is one that is sorely needed. Consider offering your financial support by donating money regularly to the families of essential workers. This money can help them cover expenses like rent, groceries, bills, or anything else they may need during this time.

Another way to support essential workers right now is with child care or pet sitting services. With essential workers often working non-stop, many no longer have the same options they did for child or pet care. Consider volunteering to help take care of a loved one’s pet or child (as long as you are physically healthy).

It is not just gifts that can support the essential workers in your life. Aside from regular financial support, you can make sure that they are aware of all of their rights when it really counts. Essential workers are the front line when it comes to global disasters, pandemics, and more. Many of them aren’t aware of all of the support they are entitled too, their rights when it comes to working hours and what their employed should provide them, and even their workers comp class codes. Make sure that you support essential workers in getting self-care, support, and what they are legally entitled to.

5. Donate PPE and Make Masks

Masks and other personal protective equipment are in high demand right now. Hospitals and medical professionals have asked the public to donate these items if they are able. If you have any stockpiled in your home, consider donating to local medical professionals right now.

Another way to show your appreciation is to make masks for these essential workers. With a few materials like fabric and a detailed tutorial online, you can create and donate masks that are sorely needed by all essential workers in the community.

6. Stay at Home

While money, gifts, food, and the like are all an effective way to say, “thank you”, there’s nothing that will get your appreciation across like following the rules. With a “shelter in place” order issued across the country, it’s imperative that families stay at home. As you stay home, you’ll help flatten the curve of the virus, which is the best way to show essential workers and the rest of the world that you care.

As we watch and wait for the virus to dissipate, essential workers need our love and support now more than ever before. Let this guide inspire you to offer the essential workers in your life gifts and acts of service that show you truly care.