Southeastern CT businesses find unique ways to thank essential workers

New London

NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (WTNH)– Many people are finding unique ways to say thanks to those on the frontline of this pandemic.

It wasn’t until this pandemic hit and federal rules were eased that the state decided to allow food trucks to set up shop at highway rest stops.

Wednesday, Rustic Streats is feeding fellow truckers – big rigs and small. 

“It’s been what two and a half months since I’ve seen my wife cause I can’t go home because of the pandemic,” said truck driver Richard Yost.

“Getting food and facilities to our truckers who are essential to our economy has become a real need,” said Mark Rolf, Deputy Commissioner of the CT Department of Transportation. 

Wednesday’s lunch was on Whelen Engineering out of Chester.

In addition to buying the meals, Whelen also gave truck drivers face masks, which the company now manufactures for first responders and healthcare workers.

“It’s awesome,” said Steve Macholl, who is a truck driver for Hummel Brothers. “I appreciate it especially the mask.”

In New London, the ‘Eyeglass Lass’ is saying thanks to those who protect others by giving them free OSHA approved prescription safety glasses.

“It’s going to come with side shields so that’s going to give you a little added protection. You know working on front lines you don’t know what’s coming at you,” said store owner Siobhan Burns.

She has put up flyers to spread the word, while Berry’s Ice Cream and Candy Bar, along with Keep the Faith New London, is saying thanks to teachers at the Regional Multicultural Magnet School with $700 in gift certificates to the downtown New London shop.

“I think that sometimes people don’t know what they do with these kids. I don’t mean to get emotional,” said shop owner Laura Beckham.

RMMS Principal Mariana Reyes and her assistant principal Andrea Mea hit the road with these superhero signs to drive home their appreciation too. They placed one at each teacher’s home.

“I’ve left it up and my neighbors stop and go who’s the superhero,” said Sue Goldstein, who teaches English to Speakers of Other Languages. “It’s me. Yay!”

Teachers and students are now connecting remotely.

“They were like in tears because they were seeing their kids,” said Reyes.

“No one really realized how long we would be doing this,” said Mea.

The community taking notice long before this teacher appreciation week.

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