For me, I see both images. Although I have been given two weeks off with pay from the library, I am concerned about our custodial staff. How will they get paid while we are closed?
Why does the image of a restaurant worker serving my favorite meal pop into my head? Well, it’s because an officer on duty shared with us before leaving that the owner of one of my favorite restaurants had to fire his entire staff a few weeks ago.
That was heartbreaking to hear. This is why I have been thinking lately about how to support workers who are on the front lines, and those who have been negatively impacted by our current crisis.
6 Ways to Support Workers in the Service Industry
Before we discuss ways to support workers in the service industry, let’s define what it is. According to Investopedia, the service industry is the sector of the economy that provides intangible and tangible services instead of goods.
Here are some examples of intangible services we didn’t mention earlier:
- Financial Consulting
- Remote computer help
I am sure you can think of some more examples. As you can tell, the service sector of the economy is huge. Although those of us who work from home may have lost some clients, people who can’t work from home – housekeepers, restaurant workers, coffee shop owners – and haven’t built multiple income steams will suffer significant losses in income.
With that being said, let’s discuss some potential ways to help those in need!
1) Donating to Relief Funds for Those in the Service Industry
If you find yourself in a good financial position like myself, consider donating to a relief fund. I’ve seen a number of them pop up lately. For example, I saw one of my favorite communities, FinCon, set up one for content creators. FinCon is a community that helps money nerds like myself market themselves and grow their platforms.
They set up a relief fund to give grants of up to $500 to help those who are in dire need of help paying rent, medical expenses, and/or buying groceries.
I have seen some funds setup for specific service industries like restaurants and bars, but I can’t vouch for their legitimacy. If you are going to donate to a relief fund, please do your own due diligence.
You may want to stick to some of the well-known organizations or one you trust.
*If you want to contribute to the FinCon relief fund, email firstname.lastname@example.org*
2) Purchasing To-Go/Delivery Orders from Your Favorite Restaurant
Although most restaurants in many cities have closed for dining in, some still remain open for to-go orders and/or delivery. I have ordered from a few of my favorite restaurants just to show my support.
If you want to go above and beyond, I suggest leaving a bigger tip than you normally would at the restaurant. Also, don’t forget to tip your delivery driver!
If your favorite restaurant is closed, you may have to resort to using the next option to show your support.
3) Purchasing Gift Cards from Small Businesses
Another way to help out is buy purchasing gift cards from small businesses. For example, a local coffee shop I support had to shut its doors due to our governor’s stay-at-home order. I’ve reached out to him to see if I could continue showing my support for his business by purchasing an online gift card to use when business opens back up.
Here are some more small businesses to consider purchasing gift cards from:
- Hair Salons
- A friend’s business
Don’t have any extra cash to spare? Read on to find out how you can help without spending a dime.
4) Sharing Information/Guides With Those in the Service Industry
If you are not in a financial position to lend or spend money, that’s okay. You can help by sharing important information and/or guides with those who need them. This is something that we normally help with at my main job. As a matter of fact, the main library has asked for volunteers to come in to help people find information online for a few hours a day.
The author of Broke Millennial, Erin Lowry put together a super helpful spreadsheet guide that includes tabs for:
- Supporting small businesses
- Financial relief/money advice
- Job leads
- and so much more!
Since tax volunteers are no longer serving the community in many areas, you could also pass along information about online tax filing options. Also, those that have lost their job may need help locating information about filing for unemployment.
In addition, I have seen a number of brands offer free online budgeting courses and online classes for in-demand skills. This is something you could share with someone to help them earn more money in future.
5) Spend some of the money you may receive from the stimulus package with those who need it
According to an article on NBC News, Americans will be receiving money from the government. That sounds good, but if you find yourself in my boat, you may not actually need the money.
Here’s how much you could potentially get based on your income/household size:
- $1,200 if you are a single income earning who makes under $75,000
- $2,400 for couples making up to $150,000
- $500 per child
On one hand, I’d be grateful to receive this money, but on the other hand, I feel like I don’t really need it. Since I am off from work, I have time to focus on making money from my high-paying side hustles. If received, I’d probably donate a portion of it.
6) Donating supplies to those on the front lines
A couple days ago, I got an email from a fellow personal blogger, Cody from Fly to FI, asking his subscribers if they knew anyone who had N95 masks. These are masks that hospital personnel need to protect themselves.
If you have extra protection equipment, consider donating it to these highly essential service workers.
Reach out to your local hospital to see if they need any of the following:
- Hand sanitizer
- Sanitizing Wipes
Can you think of some other ways to show support for service workers? Have you come across any super helpful resource lately?
AUTHOR Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown is an adventurous bibliophile who loves personal finance. He is the mastermind behind the blog Peerless Money Mentor. When he is not reading thought-provoking books or studying finance, he is spending time with family, biking, or taking a random adventure somewhere.