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Every day since the coronavirus pandemic began, a number of people have been risking their lives for the greater good. Doctors, nurses, supermarket workers, police officers, warehouse workers—the list goes on. Despite most of us being told to stay home, they continue doing their jobs. The government calls them "essential workers." We deem them, heroes.

While many of us sit safely inside our home social distancing, the few times we venture outside for fresh air, these people are heading into public places on a regular basis to help. They are helping to make sure we have food on the table. They are helping to keep us safe. They are helping to keep people alive.

In times like these, we should not only look for the helpers. We should help the helpers, too. If you have someone in your life who is an essential worker, consider what you can do for them right now. Whether you have some extra money to spend on them or not, there are plenty of ways you can show your support for the great work they are doing. 

Before you decide on a gift, note that some things people would normally love to receive are not ideal gifts right now. Daniella Forte, a nurse at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, United States, has been experiencing this. “People are sending flowers, which is nice, but not something we need right now,” she says. “Other things we love but don’t want right now are homemade goods and meals unless you can reheat them. The virus could be carried on those cold foods and containers.”

After speaking with a few essential workers, including nurses, supermarket employees, and delivery drivers, we got to the heart of what this brave workforce would really appreciate right now. If you want to help the helpers, here are 14 great options they would love.

1. Essential items

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: Getty ImagesCredit: Getty Images

Many essential workers can't get to shops right now to pick up items. Forte recommends mailing nonperishable items and household essentials. You can even put together a care package of a variety of things including pasta, canned food, cleaning wipes, tissues, disinfectant spray, and toilet paper (if you can find it).

2. Coffee

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: Tolgart/Getty ImagesCredit: Tolgart/Getty Images

A gift card for coffee is a great gift. It’s something small and simple, but much appreciated by essential workers who rely on coffee before—or during—their shifts. 

3. Food delivery gift cards

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: The Some Girl/Getty ImagesCredit: The Some Girl/Getty Images

Many essential workers are working over-time or longer shifts than normal to serve their communities. So when they get home, the last thing they feel like doing is slaving away in the kitchen. Treat them to a meal from their favourite restaurant by giving them a gift card to a food delivery service like Just Eat. You should also check if you can purchases gift cards directly from restaurants first, to support these small businesses directly.

Give a Just Eat gift card starting at £15

4. Activities to entertain their kids

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: Getty ImagesCredit: Getty Images

Many parents who are essential workers are currently separated from their children for months due to the coronavirus outbreak, so they need things to keep their kids busy. Some ideas for the moms and dads in your life include sidewalk chalk, washable paints, puzzles, or board games.

5. Bubble bath products

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: Getty ImagesCredit: Getty Images

There are few things more relaxing than a bubble bath. And if anyone needs one of those right now, it's essential workers. Gift them some much-needed bath accessories like this wildly popular coconut milk bath soak or one of these bath bombs (bonus points if you choose calming scents like lavender or eucalyptus!).

Get the Herbivore Coconut Milk Bath Soak from Amazon for £29.99

Get the Luxurious Bath Bomb Spa Gift Set With Relaxing Essential Oils from Amazon for £14.99

6. Clothing for less laundry

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: Getty ImagesCredit: Getty Images

In these hectic times, many health workers barely have time to sleep let alone do their laundry. Yet they're still going through multiple pairs of scrubs a day. The solution? Giving them a gift certificate to a scrubs retailer, like Simon Jersey. Alternatively, if you’re a dab hand with the sewing machine you can donate homemade scrubs to the NHS. You'll save them time, money, and stress.

7. Headphones to tune out the world

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: Reviewed / Jackson RuckarCredit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Dealing with the current world we live in is a lot right now—especially for essential workers. So chances are, when they're at home or travelling to and from work, sometimes they just need an escape (or at least a little privacy to make phone calls to friends and family). For that, gift them a great pair of Bluetooth wireless headphones like everyone's favourite AirPods or this budget-friendly pair from JLab.

Get Apple AirPods from Amazon for £158.99

Get the JLab Audio Epic Sport In-Ear Headphones from Amazon for £64.80

8. Lotion for over-washed hands

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: AquaphorCredit: Aquaphor

Essential workers more than anyone know the importance of washing their hands regularly. And since they're likely doing it every few minutes throughout the day, they're also likely suffering from extra-dry hands. For that, they need lotion. 

Get Aquaphor Touch-Free Healing Ointment from Amazon for £20.70

Get Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion from Amazon for £7.92

9. Streaming service subscriptions

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: FG Trade/Getty ImagesCredit: FG Trade/Getty Images

Kicking their feet up on the couch and zoning out in front of the TV could be just what the essential workers in your life need after dealing with the public all day (or all night). And a subscription to one of the popular streaming services will help them do just that. Whether it's Netflix or Disney+, they'll thank you for the much-needed stress relief.

Give a Netflix subscription starting at £5.99 per month

Give a Disney+ subscription for £5.99 per month

10. Books

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: Getty ImagesCredit: Getty Images

Reading is a great way to unwind after a long day of work (and a great escape from all the stress and coronavirus news). Order them one of the top 100 books to read right now or gift them a subscription to Kindle Unlimited. They can use the app on any device—i.e. they don't actually need a Kindle—and will have access to thousands of e-books and audiobooks that they can read anytime, anywhere.

Give a Kindle Unlimited subscription for £7.99 per month

11. Uber gift certificates

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: Getty ImagesCredit: Getty Images

Staff who take Ubers to work will love a gift certificate to ease the burden of their daily commute. Depending on how long said commute is, the minimum £25 you can send could cover multiple days of work (which means they can put their wages towards more important things, like food and other essentials). Bonus: They can also use their Uber gift card towards food delivery with UberEats. 

Send an Uber gift card starting at £25

12. Things to look forward to

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: Getty ImagesCredit: Getty Images

Essential workers might not have a lot of time right now (or places to go) for entertainment but you can give them something for when this is all over. Like a gift certificate to their favourite restaurant (that way, you’re helping the restaurant too!) or their favourite store. Another easy idea? “I would love a nail salon gift certificate, as we are not allowed to have our nails done anymore,” Forte says.

13. Alcohol

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: People Images/Getty ImagesCredit: People Images/Getty Images

We all know that sometimes after a stressful day at work, all you really want—and need—is a nice stiff drink to take the edge off. And your friends or family members who are essential workers are no different. Send them a bottle of wine (or the liquor of their choosing) with a delivery service like The Bottle Club or the Drink Supermarket.

Order with The Bottle Club

Order with the Drink Supermarket

14. Staying home

Bournemouth Echo: Credit: Getty ImagesCredit: Getty Images

One of the best gifts you can give essential workers? Staying home to help prevent the spread of the virus. That means avoiding going out unless you absolutely must. Even if you need groceries, consider ordering online through a supermarket delivery service. The less you're out and about, the better.

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