Five Ways to Support Essential Workers and First Responders

Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, first responders and other essential workers continue doing their jobs, often working long hours and putting themselves at risk of infection.   

Worldwide, people have found ways to support essential workers and to express their appreciation. For example, in New York City many community members regularly applaud their healthcare professionals and other essential workers at 7 p.m.   

In Corvallis, community members have found other ways to support essential workers.  

“We have seen a lot of support and appreciation from the community, which is tremendously appreciated,” said Lieutenant Joel Goodwin of the Corvallis Police Department.   

“We can train for how to keep ourselves safe from a lot of threats, but something like this is completely different,” he continued. “Yet everyone here at CPD remains committed to keeping our community safe – I’m very proud of our team for that.”  

If you wish to help, here are a few ideas from local first responders and healthcare professionals, which can be extended to other essential workers as well  

  1. Express Appreciation

One way to express appreciation is to say “thank you” either verbally or in writing. Friendly gestures also make a difference.  

“Driving around town, people who are out for a walk seem much more likely to wave, and people we contact on calls are more willing to express their appreciation,” said Goodwin. “It adds a new dimension to our profession.”  

Displaying homemade signs or posting on social media are other ways to say thank you. Twitter and Instagram users have used dozens of hashtags including #EveryoneKnowsAHero, or simply #ThankYou followed by a note about who they are thanking.   

  1. Provide a Meal or Treat

Community members have had food items like pizza delivered for healthcare workers or other essential workers to enjoy. Samaritan Health Services, for example, is actively coordinating lunches and snacks provided by community members.   

“Many generous community members and local businesses have reached out to ask if they can provide lunch or special treats for our compassionate team of health care workers,” notes Samaritan’s website.  

They have specific guidance about pre-arranging food deliveries for their staff. These guidelines are specific to Samaritan but may apply to other institutions or organizations. If you want to support a different facility, be sure to call and ask before scheduling a delivery.  

  1. Donate Blood

Hospitals and clinics still need blood donations. Due to social distancing recommendations, the American Red Cross currently has specific appointment times for sign up. They are also coordinating donations from people who have recovered from COVID-19.  

According to the American Red Cross website, “People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 have antibodies in their plasma that can attack the virus. This convalescent plasma is being evaluated as treatment for patients with serious or immediately life-threatening COVID-19 infections, or those judged by a healthcare provider to be at high risk of progression to severe or life-threatening disease.”   

For more information or to schedule a blood donation appointment, visit the American Red Cross website.   

  1. Donate Supplies

So far, community members have donated over 10,000 hand-sewn masks to essential workers through the Corvallis Sewing Brigade. These volunteers are also making face shields and surgical gowns. For more information, visit their website  

In addition, Oregon State University, local businesses, and individuals have donated commercial PPE they had on hand. For those who have such items, the Benton County Emergency Response Team and local health care facilities are still seeking donations.  

Donate masks, gloves, and gowns that you might have in your medicine cabinet,” said Lieutenant Gabe Gurule of the Corvallis Fire Department.  

To see more donation requests and volunteer opportunities, visit the Benton County Recovers website.  

  1. Follow Social Distancing Guidelines

Above all else, community members are kindly asked to continue following recommended hygiene and social distancing guidelines. Keep in mind that over the next few weeks, the guidelines are likely to change.  

“Please practice social distancing. We can’t stay home, so we need you to stay home so that we can stay safe while we’re on the job,” said Gurule.  

“Please avoid calling 9-1-1 except in an emergency. Whenever police or firefighters respond in the community, they run the risk of exposing themselves to COVID-19, even with all the precautions we’re taking to limit exposure,” he continued.   

By Samantha Sied