During the COVID-19 pandemic, public employees across the nation have given back to their communities in extraordinary ways. From donating to food banks to helping their neighbors and protecting their communities, public employees have been on the front lines.  

Here are stories of public employees in service to their communities.

Phoenix-area first responders donate plasma to help others fight the coronavirus by Maddy Pumilia. First responders in Arizona, including firefighters, paramedics, and police officers, are giving back after they’ve recovered from the coronavirus. Now, police officer Santos Robles and other first responders are donating their plasma to save others. Robles caught the coronavirus back in July, and as Pumilia reports, he thinks being treated with plasma from recovered coronavirus patients saved his life. “The plasma did me well. I think it saved me,” Robles said. “If you give, it’s going to help someone. You may not know who but it’s going to help somebody.”

KC police donate part of their paychecks to fund first responders by Lara Moritz. While putting their lives on the line is part of the job, first responders have been put especially at risk during the coronavirus pandemic. Since the pandemic began, the non-profit Surviving Spouse and Family Endowment Fund (SAFE), which exists to support the families of first responders who die while in the line of duty, has taken a financial hit due to a lapse of in-person fundraising events. That was, until Kansas City police officers stepped in. Members of the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) will be contributing $1 from their paychecks going forward to support SAFE. Brad Lemon, the president of Kansas City’s FOP, said, “I brought it to our members and unanimously, 100% of our members said a dollar a paycheck is the least we can do.”

Peck Elementary teacher Sandra Ramirez has given out thousands of boxes of food to students’ families. ‘Her heart is so enormous’ by Nara Schoenberg. A teacher from the Southwest side of Chicago has been giving back to her community since the pandemic began. Sandra Ramirez, a teacher from Peck Elementary, has been working with the nonprofit World Vision to distribute weekly food boxes to those in need, including her students. Schoenberg reports that Ramirez and her colleagues at Peck Elementary have distributed 3,000 gallons of milk, 600 boxes of produce, and 4,200 boxes of food. She and the other staff from the school deliver so much milk using their vehicles and time they’ve started referring to themselves as the “Moo Crew”. Jonathan Smith, World Vision Chicago site manager, had this to say about Ramirez: “Her heart is so enormous. She’s the type of person who just gives her all to be sure that someone has the same things that she has.”

Be sure to check back next week for more stories of public employees giving back to their communities!