Every day across our city, retail grocery workers put themselves on the front line in the face of uncertainty and with a legitimate concern for their own well-being, keeping our communities fed. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, they have not had the luxury of working remotely, or frankly removing themselves from exposure. They face very real dangers. These are risks that they didn’t sign up for, risks that weren’t “part of the job” when they were hired. For that, we are deeply grateful.
The workers at Daily Table, our nonprofit grocery stores in Dorchester and Roxbury, have astounded me with their dedication to our mission and their willingness to put it all on the line to provide healthy food to our communities. This work is HARD, and this work is IMPORTANT. And frankly, we will never fully understand the emotional burden retail workers, like other front-line providers, carry during these scary times. Whether they work in a large supermarket chain or small corner store, all the work they do to bring good food to their neighbors and community should not go unnoticed. We began offering a $2-per-hour emergency pay bonus on March 12. It’s a fraction of what we, and the community, owe every grocery worker.
To all of us shopping as customers: Let’s remember to tell our cashier, the person who directs us to the product we’re searching for, the people stocking shelves, and the one who has to stand outside all day long admitting customers for our safety, how much of a difference they are making for all of us.
To grocery store workers everywhere: each day, when you gear up with your masks and gloves, know that you are making a difference and we are immensely grateful.
Doug Rauch, former president of Trader Joe’s, is founder and president of Daily Table.