When Covid first hit and the state of Illinois was facing a shut down there was so much uncertainty…I would go as far as saying the word panic!! People were told to stay home from work, and many people did not even know when they would be returning. Just a lot of questions all around. I was one of the lucky individuals whose position was considered “essential“. When this shut down first began, I’m not gonna lie, there was a giant part of me that felt guilty for going to work when so many of my friends had to stay home! There was another part of me that was scared…there was a PANDEMIC going on!!! Yet I was still coming into work every day.
About six weeks into this shut down and the COVID-19 situation, I began to see the effects of the shut downs all around me. All of the local restaurants were closed. Many of the small businesses were closed. People were really beginning to struggle financially. Families and businesses were suffering. Who could survive without income for that long? How can a business pay their rent without one customer? How much longer was it going to last? One morning I was riding my bike to work and it just hit me like a slap in the face how “essential“ my job really had become. I work for a company that provides energy saving kits to low income families all around the city and suburbs of Illinois. One of our delivery drivers tells a story of delivering to a family in Rockford and they immediately opened the kit and put the lightbulb in their front doorway–they said it had been burned out for a couple months. This family was so appreciative!
The recipients of the kits are families that can greatly benefit from the savings that our kits can help save them. These families are incredibly grateful for receiving these products, and it made me realize I should not feel guilty for getting to work, but proud that I’m able to work for a company that can provide these types of opportunities at a time when people are in need. We also send out kits to small businesses and restaurants and have been able to send products to business owners that are going to save them money on energy and water bills. At this time they probably can’t afford to invest their money into these energy efficient products, but by making one or two small changes with what we send them in their kit, they can save money. I realized on this bike ride to work that helping people is “essential”. Getting through this pandemic together is “essential”, and I’m very proud to be an “essential worker”!