If you’re reading this from your home, know that you’re already one who many consider to be “privileged” amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, if you can afford to spend on delivery services to make restocking of necessities easier, then you certainly have the means to help frontliners, particularly unsung heroes like delivery drivers, cope with the situation. That is, through something called COVID-19 care packages.
COVID-19 care packages: What are they and why should you make them?
COVID-19 care packages are small parcels or bags that you can give to our everyday frontliners to show your appreciation for their work. Aside from delivery drivers, they include garbage collectors and security guards — basically, frontliners who you interact with from home. Considering these workers are also exposed to people and facilities on a regular basis, they too can be potential carriers of the virus.
“We celebrate our healthcare workers because they’re risking their lives to save ours; in a way, our delivery drivers and trash collectors do this, too. They supply us with our needs (even wants), even when it means exposing themselves to the virus”, shared TripZilla Philippines’ Danielle Uy, who has handed out a few of these packages herself. “My mom has always reminded us to treat these people with love and respect because they work unimaginably hard.”
Unlike other frontliners, most of these delivery drivers, trash collectors, and security guards rely on a daily source of income and sometimes lack the necessary protection. It’s through simple gestures like making COVID-19 care packages that you can help prevent these service people and their families from getting infected by the novel coronavirus.
Things to include in COVID-19 care packages
1. Disinfecting alcohol
As in other circumstances, using alcohol is the first step in disinfecting any exposed area of the body. Since buying alcohol is limited to at most two containers per customer in many stores and markets in Metro Manila, pour a portion of what you have at home into small, easily portable bottles instead of buying separate ones. As to how much you’re willing to share depends on you. Nonetheless, the more you give, the better; they need it more than you do!
2. Reusable face mask
With spare materials at home, you can create reusable DIY face masks for your COVID-19 care packages. Generally, you’ll need the following: fabric, tissue or wipes, garter, measuring tools, and sewing tools. The steps vary on your resources. To make face masks that work, meaning they don’t just absorb or are not easily penetrated by particles, use both non-woven and water repellent fabrics. Place them as the first and third layers of the mask, with tissues or wipes carefully tucked in between.
3. Reusable tissue
With observing proper sanitation at the forefront of COVID-19 home prevention, tissues can run out in a flash. Rather than hoarding regular non-eco-friendly tissues, (which you shouldn’t do anyway), purchase reusable ones. A pandemic is no excuse to forget the environment, even with all those “nature is healing” testimonies you’ve been seeing online.
4. Food and water
More than a show of appreciation, putting healthy food and water inside COVID-19 care packages can help boost these workers’ immune systems. Likewise, they prevent them from developing the virus upon possible exposure. Packing meals, as opposed to light snacks, can also help delivery drivers, in particular, from making stops at restaurants or stores for sustenance which further puts them at risk.
5. Tip and letter of appreciation
Finally, writing simple yet heartfelt words of appreciation and encouragement won’t hurt when these unsung heroes are putting their lives at stake to serve us. This is also a great opportunity to reuse and recycle some of those spare papers and materials you’ve been stocking up on at home. No matter how small, adding in a monetary token will go a long way for these everyday frontliners as well.
What to remember when packing
1. Keep items in small size
As some of these everyday frontliners are constantly on the move, keep the contents of your COVID-19 care packages in portable sizes. That way, it will be easier for them to store them without hindering their jobs. Don’t forget to properly seal each package, too!
2. Disinfect the items before packing them
Sadly, some people can be carriers of COVID-19 without them knowing it. For safety reasons, always disinfect the items in your COVID-19 care packages before and after packing them to avoid spreading the virus to other people.
3. Do it with love
Most importantly, don’t forget to do this small yet meaningful gesture with love, not because somebody forced you to. With a global pandemic as serious as what we are going through now, showing compassion is a blatant non-negotiable. First and foremost, it’s positivity we should be spreading.
A small act of kindness may not change the world, but it changes it for one person at a time. In this case, it’s these everyday frontliners who work incredibly hard amid the risks. With the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, making COVID-19 care packages, along with other quarantine-friendly habits like donating, counts for a lot. And remember — keep them small, well-sanitised, and showered with love. It’s the least you can do to flatten the curve from the comfort of your home!