Countless small and local businesses are suffering from the impacts of lockdown orders in cities across the country. And yet, so many have found creative ways to give back to the frontline health care heroes and emergency response workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read on to find out how local businesses around the nation are donating goods and services to first responders and health care workers responding to COVID-19.

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Making and donating essential items

Organizations of all sizes, from dental schools to locally owned nail salons have donated personal protective equipment (PPE) — including N95 masks, gloves, gowns, face masks and other essential supplies — to health care workers and emergency response departments.

Companies with manufacturing facilities have switched over to produce in-demand supplies. For instance, nearly 800 distilleries have turned their attention from making small-batch spirits to creating and distributing hand sanitizer, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

Offering free technologies and services

While many companies have been faced with workforce reductions and layoffs, numerous organizations are accelerating hiring and onboarding to bring more qualified professionals to the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. To support these efforts, some HR companies are making their recruiting software and services free to these organizations, according to Human Resource Executive.

Similarly, companies in the mental health sector are offering free services like meditation app subscriptions to those facing the stressful workplace realities of COVID-19.

Sharing gifts of gratitude

Restaurants around the country are donating food and beverages to essential workers. Some bring balanced meals to those working long shifts, while others donate special treats like desserts and bottles of wine as a way to show gratitude. Dairy farms have also donated gallons of milk to local emergency workers and health care professionals.

Retailers that sell everything from comfortable walking shoes to fine jewelry are donating their products to workers out on the front lines, in an effort to make each day a little brighter. A spa franchise[located where] has invited its members to donate spa treatments that essential workers can redeem for some relaxation and renewal once the facilities re-open.

Even unexpected donations can make a big impact. For instance, a roofing company in Charleston, South Carolina has committed to constructing three new roofs on the homes of an EMT, nurse and police officer in its community. Actions like these show that it doesn’t really matter what a company does; as long as they approach the situation with a spirit of generosity and gratitude, they can find creative ways to lighten the load for those out on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus.

Additional ways to give back

If you operate a local business — or wish to jointly support the small businesses and COVID-19 responders in your community — there are plenty of ways to give back in whatever ways you can. Consider the following ideas:

  • Contact local health care organizations and first responder agencies to find out if they are accepting supply donations.
  • Host a fundraiser and donate the proceeds to an organization in need of financial support.
  • Announce a giveaway of the product or service you offer, and invite your customers to nominate emergency responders.
  • Make your product or service available for free to those in desperate need.
  • Purchase goods from companies that are donating funds or products for each purchase made.
  • Buy gift cards from local businesses and donate them to first responders or health care workers in your community.

Additionally, saying “thank you” with a simple handwritten note or a banner in your front yard can go a long way to making those serving in your community feel your support.