The last year has been incredibly hard for First Responders. I know this for a fact, because I have more than a few that are friends of mine, and I’ve got 100 of them in my class that I mentor on resiliency.
Consequently, I have a suggestion for you: adopt a substation/fire house/precinct.
I don’t mean you have to let those characters in on the inheritance, but pick a group and do something nice for them.
Now, in 2021, you have to do this the right way. They aren’t always receptive to you showing up with a pan of brownies. Besides the fact that a couple of the readers might load them up with funny edible substances that contain THC, there is a justifiable concern for contamination on purpose, or disease.
Here’s how you do it in a few short steps.
First, decide who to support. Law Enforcement, Fire, or Paramedic/EMT.
Talk to the person in charge if you don’t know someone at the location. Find out how many people work there (*they may be touchy about providing this information, so make sure you can provide references*) and if it’s an organization that has shifts reporting/living there, find out when they eat dinner. Firehouses are a great bet for this, they cook for themselves and usually try to eat at the same time. Law enforcement and medics have a shift change, and if you bring a meal, cookies, ice cream sundaes, whatever, you could do it an hour before shift change so both oncoming and offgoing can enjoy the food.
Next, plan a menu when you know what the needs are. If you are a church or social group, you can get together and do a couple of pans of lasagna, hot dish, ribs, whatever, and the assorted salads and deserts. Throw in a couple of beverages for each person to be served and disposable plates/silverware. Saving them the cleanup is a big help.
If you aren’t part of a group, but just want to do this because it feels right, you can find a restaurant they like and cater it in. A full meal for 15 people is about $200 at an inexpensive but good Mexican place around here, because it’s way cheaper when it’s a pan of enchiladas, beans, rice and tortilla instead of individual servings. Not a lot of money if you plan for it.
Now, don’t wait for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving: do it next week. Yes, they work hard all year long, and Sunday the 19th is every bit as big a blessing as a holiday.
I know morale is low in many of these organizations. Partly because since the Chinese Virus hit, people call them out for the smallest malady. One fire department I know has seen its calls more than double in the past 18 months. It’s wearing these folks down. Your plate of rigatoni and garlic bread will do more for morale than a dozen other things you could do.
That’s it. Just do something nice for them because you can, and they need the boost. Doesn’t have to cost a bundle, but the dividend for them is huge.