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Celebrating Service: Appreciating First Responders

Even as we’ve all been social distancing and staying at home, there are still many people who don’t have the option to (literally) phone it in when it comes to their jobs. So, it’s all the more important to show appreciation for those on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 who work to protect our safety and wellbeing, and aid those who have become sick.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can remotely express your gratitude and make a difference in the lives of these heroes – both worldwide and in your local community. Here are just a few ideas to get you thinking:

Virtual Volunteerism offers a #virtualvolunteerism program that provides different ways for individuals and families to give back during times of limited contact. Options include writing letters to first responders, deployed troops and others who serve our country and creating handmade gifts to go in care packages sent by the organization. Or simply do some of your routine buying on AmazonSmile. With every eligible purchase, they will donate 0.5% to Operation Gratitude.

Practical Baskets
A gift basket is an easy, tangible way to express gratitude. Many online companies will allow you to completely customize your basket to meet the needs of the responder(s) you are expressing your thanks to and ship it directly to their door. Consider including things like personal care items with calming scents or gift cards for takeout food from a favorite restaurant to help them relax and unwind during their precious (and often scarce) downtime.

Donate Your Dollars
Especially now, many communities are holding charity drives to support fire and police departments, paramedics and more. A gift to one of these fundraisers can make a difference in the lives of first responders and their family members. Even if you aren’t able to make a big donation, there are plenty of ways to help these groups, including organizing an online event or starting your own fundraising campaign.

Spread the Word
When you have a great experience with local first responders, spreading the word online can be a big boost to them personally and to the organization they work for. A simple post on your social media account(s) stating how thankful you are for their service can inspire your friends and connections to do the same. It may not be a direct “thank you,” but speaking well of these individuals is still a gesture of gratitude that is both kind and impactful.

Taking a few moments to show thankfulness for those on the front lines truly makes a difference. We’re all in this together!

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