Feb 22 is Supermarket Employee Day after role of essential workers is recognized with pandemic

It took a pandemic to deem these workers essential.

"We're putting our lives at risk so for the pandemic, that's when people started noticing grocery store workers should be appreciated," said produce worker Anahi Gonzalez, Prince Valley Market.

They stock shelves, ring your groceries at the register and the list goes on to make sure you and your family have what you need, from fresh meats to toilet paper inside our home 

"We provide food and services to the community," said Joe Gappy, Prince Valley Market. 

The Food Industry Association has found a way to honor these workers by proclaiming the first-ever Supermarket Employee Day to be held starting this year and every year moving forward on  February 22nd.

"It's actually pretty cool, it makes grocery store workers feel appreciated," Gonzalez said.

As the President of Prince Valley Market in southwest Detroit Gappy saw how challenging the height of the pandemic was for his workers. 

"We went from about 112 associates to 58 in the first two weeks," he said. "We had to close departments in the store,  people were afraid to come to work."

But many did come to work, in fact, the association estimates that there are six million supermarket employees in the US and that's why this day has been declared as a day to recognize these employees. 

Grocery store workers say the best way to show your appreciation is simple.

 "Just say thank you," said Gonzalez.

"Please thank us, appreciate us," Gappy said.

You can also show your appreciation through social media with the hashtag #SupermarketEmployeeDay and #SupermarketHeroes