Public employees across the nation give back to their communities in extraordinary ways every single day. From donating to food banks to helping their neighbors and protecting their communities, public employees have always been there when their community needs them the most. 

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

Arizona residents, neighborhoods help one another through coronavirus pandemic by BrieAnna J. Frank.  In a wide-ranging article for the Arizona Republic, Frank details the stories of people throughout Arizona who were some of the first to help out at the start of the pandemic. One of these stories is about Phoenix Union High School teacher Thea Crockett. With the help of a friend, while schools were closed Crockett created an interactive map for her students to show where they can receive meals free of charge. Crockett commented, “We can provide education, but we have to be able to provide basic needs of our students before they can do the learning. Meals are very important.”

‘Who is going to help me?’: How a Florida team brings healthcare to this community by Janine Zeitlin. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout Florida, one team of community healthcare workers working for Healthcare Network is doing their best to provide care to their community of Immokalee. The team is responsible for community vaccination clinics, connecting sick patients with care, and going door to door to check in on ill residents by providing them with information and necessities while they are diagnosed with the virus. As of July, the team, funded through a federal grant, has handled 2,500 calls to a resource line, distributed 10,000 vaccines, and met 4,000 people through their door-to-do canvassing effort. Julie Pedretti, who leads the team, says, “It’s about health equity, which has become more visible as part of COVID but has always been there, and this is just the path towards where we always wanted to be.”

Delaware ESL programs and students quickly adapt to COVID by Doc Louallen. In Delaware, public employees, church groups, and community organizations have delivered English as a Second Language classes (ESL) to hundreds of Latinos. When the programs went virtual at the start of the pandemic, ESL classes and teachers adapted and grew from the experience. Sussex Technical School District grouped different experience levels in their virtual classes, which benefited all. One of the ESL teachers for Sussex Tech, Linda Tuttle, commented, “It’s difficult when everybody is on different levels, but they all help each other. My best student will help my beginner student and my middle student uses my best student as motivation to move up levels.”

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