By Albert Chi—
More than 100,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 since the year began so it’s easy to understand why the Sympathy and Get Well card slots in store card racks are bare.
But Thank You cards are also in short supply at many locations as grateful survivors and their families snatch them up to send to medical staff and others who’ve gone above and beyond to save patients.
Yet, there’s a whole cadre of essential workers who’ve risked their lives to keep the country going and, if you want to show your appreciation for what they’re doing, fire up your printer and send them a personal “thank you” they so richly deserve.
There’s nothing like a personal card with a hand written note to express your thanks for a job well done. Electronic cards just don’t cut it. Oh, they’re pretty and animated, with fuzzy animals and musical scores, but they’re about as impersonal as you can get. What they really say, to paraphrase Hallmark’s famous slogan is that “you didn’t care to send the very best.”
And from my own personal experience and that of my friends, they’re ephemeral—really, how many have you saved, if indeed they can be saved at all? Try taping one to the fridge or displaying it on the mantel or keeping it for years as a memory. (Pardon the digression but as you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m not a big fan of electronic cards).
Getting back to our essential workers, even with social distancing in effect, it’s not difficult to thank those who are so crucial to keeping our vital services running. All it takes is an easy-to-print card and some tape or a stamp. Here are a few anecdotes I’ve gathered over the last month that may give you some ideas.
A grandmother I know now gets lots of packages delivered she never used to that allows her to stay safe and shop from home. When she knows a delivery is coming, she powers up her trusty Epson and whips out a thank-you on Red River card stock using a variety of her photos. Then she writes a personal note inside the card, slips it it into an envelope addressed to FedEx, UPS or Amazon and tapes it to her door.
She’s in her 70s and more vulnerable to the virus, so her notes are a bit more to the point. She shared one of her recent ones with me that said: “Thank you for delivering my package. You may have saved my life. God bless you.” After signing and sealing it, up it goes on her front door. From time to time, she’ll also leave one for the postman and for the grocery delivery service person.
Another friend, an older, retired veteran decided to send cards to his local police, fire and 911 first responders. Once that was done, he kept going, sending cards to all the departments at his local hospital. By the time he finished, he’d sent out more than 35 cards and was planning to send even more. “I wasn’t able to be on the front lines of this virus war,” he explained, “but I figured I could contribute to the morale effort and it made me feel like I was doing something other than just sitting on my ass watching TV.”
While looking out her window one day, a neighbor told me she happened to think about the workers who collected her trash every week. So she taped some envelopes to the containers the night before they’d be picked up with a “thank you” note inside each. “They come very early in the morning,” she explained, “so I wasn’t there to see their reaction but I’ll bet it made the day a bit happier for them—knowing that someone appreciates their efforts. It certainly made my day brighter.”
Making your own cards is a snap with Red River card sets: instructions are posted at their site (see Resources). And it’s easier yet since you’re going to hand write your message so you don’t have to print text. Just use a nice photo from your collection or a piece of your own artwork or any image from the web you like and print it out. Red River cards are pre-scored and come with envelopes. Say something nice inside the card, tuck it into the envelope, and write on the outside who it’s for— easy peasy.
If you want to send cards through the mail to a hospital department or medical group just give them a call and ask to whom it should be addressed. Or you can just send it to the hospital’s address and mark it: Attention—Emergency Room, Intensive Care Unit, or COVID Section and it’ll get to the right place.
Finally, don’t forget the workers who are in other occupations essential to keeping our country running and who are risking their lives to do so. Meat packing plant workers, food bank personnel, supermarket workers, bank tellers, transportation workers, public utility workers…and more.
You may think sending an appreciation card to our essential workers in a small thing but don’t kid yourself, it’s a HUGE thing and a great way to use what you have to make a BIG difference. It’ll also make you feel very, very good. I guarantee it.
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