A new campaign in Uxbridge aims to show those working at grocery stores how much they are appreciated.
The effort is a gift card campaign that brings some TLC to grocery store workers.
Organizer Zed Pickering, who works at a local brewery, said the goal is to give every grocery store worker a gift card to a local restaurant — it’s the gift of food to repay those who help the rest of us get our food.
Pickering said that while cruising the aisles at the grocery store earlier this month, he was inspired to do something for the workers.
“You can see the fatigue and all the emotional drain that these employees are having to carry every day but we’re so fortunate to have them show up,” Pickering said.
“We don’t often think of our grocery store workers as people that are part of the service industry. We just expect them to be there and be ready. So this is our chance to say, ‘Look, we know that you worked hard and here’s some food for our food,’” Pickering said.
Greg Niarchos, a Zehrs store manager, has seen firsthand how much of a toll the past year has taken on his staff.
“This is our job, day in and day out. We go in, wake up every morning, we do it. It really does mean a lot to everyone in here and we are thankful for all of that,” Niarchos says.
The initiative is designed to help out the community by showing support to workers with the restaurant gift cards. In the process, as the grocery store workers use the gift cards, the project will support local restaurants through their purchases.
“Our restaurants have been shut down, time and time again, and so this is a way to get some cash back into those restaurants so that we don’t lose them,” Pickering said.
Jude Anthony is one of those struggling restaurant owners. He’s run Wixen’s Bridge for eight years.
“It helps everyone,” Anthony said.
Uxbridge’s mayor, Dave Barton, has seen the community band together and says this initiative is one he’s sure it will rally around.
“Our grocery workers have been true heroes during this pandemic,” Barton said.
“They come to work with a smile on their face knowing that there’s risks and this is one great way for us to recognize them as a community.”
The gift cards can be dropped off at Blue Heron Books until June 6. They’ll be held for a few days, as a precautionary measure, before being handed out.
“We’d love to be able to give a restaurant gift card to every employee at our grocery stores,” Pickering said.
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