Organizations, businesses provide services for essential workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Article Originally Published 4/2/20 at The Daily Texan

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis, organizations are providing essential workers with free or discounted services for their dedication to their communities.

Essential workers are people who participate in necessary functions to help communities experiencing restrictions due to COVID-19, according to a March 19 news release by the United States Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Here are a few organizations that are giving back to essential workers during the pandemic:


The YMCA of Austin and other YMCA locations throughout the U.S. are offering child care for essential workers, said Joan Altobelli, a vice president of licensed child care for YMCA. Altobelli said the organization is using federal, state and local guidelines to consider who is an essential worker, including grocery store employees, first responders and medical workers.

YMCA plans to stay open as long as needed for essential workers, Altobelli said. 


Uber Health is providing free transportation for front-line health care workers, and Uber Eats is offering free meals to first responders and health care workers, according to Uber’s official website.

Uber Eats has also waived delivery fees for over 100,000 restaurants.


Calling all coffee lovers: Starbucks is offering free coffee to front-line responders until May 3, according to a March 25 news release. 

The offer is available to police officers, firefighters, paramedics, doctors, nurses, hospital staff and researchers, according to CNN


Crocs is sending free shoes with no shipping fees to front-line health care workers, according to a March 27 news release.

Customers can also receive a 30% discount when buying a pair of Crocs for a health care worker, according to Croc’s official website.

Taco Bell 

Taco Bell is delivering food to essential workers using their “Taco Trucks,” according to a March 27 news release.

“There’s a distinct group of brave people – from (health care) workers, to teachers, to grocery store employees – who are making sure the world keeps running, and we need to make sure we all do our part to take care of them,” Taco Bell said in the release.

Steak ‘n Shake

Essential workers can save 20% on a “Steakburger ‘n Fries” at Steak ‘n Shake until April 7, according to Steak ‘n Shake’s website.

Here are some of the eligible industries that can receive this offer, according to AP News: grocery stores, food distribution and restaurants, media, mail and package delivery, custodial, transit and sanitation. This offer is also available to health care workers, local government officials and first responders.


Hooters is offering health care workers, first responders and military personnel a 20% discount on food takeout orders, according to a March 25 news release

Kentucky Fried Chicken

Essential workers can enjoy a bucket of fried chicken wherever they are with KFC’s delivery service, according to a March 31 news release.

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme will be giving free dozens of glazed doughnuts every Monday through National Nurses Week (May 6-12), according to a March 25 news release. The offer is available to health care workers, including hospital workers, physicians, nurses, surgeons, psychologists, dentists, optometrists, pharmacists and their staff. Health care workers can receive up to five dozen doughnuts. 

“Like everyone in these times, we’re anxious. We’re concerned,” Krispy Kreme said in the release. “We’re also all in this together. Thank you, health care workers and everyone supporting them.”

Cover Photo Credit: Stephanie Sonik, Daily Texan Staff

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