(WGGB/WSHM) -- On Monday, Big Y World Class Markets took the time to recognize a special group of people who have been hard at work on the front lines of the pandemic: their employees.

It’s all part of the first ever National Supermarket Employee Day.

In a time filled with endless national holidays where we honor people, places, and things, this year, a new day has emerged to shine light on an important group of frontline heroes.

“Today is National Supermarket Employee Day. FMI [The Food Industry Association], with the year that we’ve gone through, felt it was great to recognize our employees and what they’ve done day in and day out,” said Big Y store supervisor Tricia Hay.

Coralynn Burr is just one of the 12,000 employees Big Y is honoring during the new holiday, this week marking her 20th anniversary serving the community of Springfield as a supermarket employee.

“Big Y is an amazing company to work for. You get to enjoy people, your coworkers, employees, and customers. It’s always enjoyable knowing you’re making a difference in the community, making sure people are taken care of,” Burr added.

Burr said even though the pandemic has been challenging, she’s proud of the work she’s done.

“The pandemic has been very difficult for everybody. It puts a damper on how we used to take care of our customers. We’ve had to change the ways we do business a little bit, but it’s rewarding to know that we’re still taking care of customers the best we can,” Burr added.

Big Y is encouraging everyone shopping at their stores on Monday to honor their favorite workers by thanking them in person, or by using the hashtag #supermarketheroes on social media.

“Just putting it out there. Having that acknowledgment that their hard work and dedication is acknowledged with the customers and they appreciate it just as much as we appreciate what they’ve done,” Hay explained.

She told Western Mass News the gesture is one she and her coworkers don’t take lightly.

“They are small gestures, but they do mean a lot. Prior to the pandemic, no one would ever think of a supermarket employee as being a hero,” Burr said.

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