ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Tens of thousands of dollars in gifts are adding up to a big ‘Thank You’ to the Emergency Medical Staff who rush to help those in need. A total of $85,000 in gifts is supporting EMS Appreciation Week in central Virginia.

In addition to cards and free food, some businesses are taking a different approach to show how much they appreciate emergency responders. 

“It’s an opportunity to acknowledge, recognize and give back to the folks who to a great extent, nobody ever knows and nobody ever sees, but they're doing this 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Tom Joyce, executive director of Thomas Jefferson EMS Council.

During EMS Appreciation Week, things turned a bit around, to show appreciation to their lifesavers.

“It feels like we put a lot of our heart and soul into the community. For them to give back feels really good,” said Alice Thomson, EMS volunteer for 5 years.

In the past, businesses have donated snacks, lunches and dinners.

“Well, we obviously do this because we have a lot of fun doing it. We enjoy helping people, so we don't necessarily need a week of appreciation but it’s always nice to have a little bit of a kind of reward for what we do,” said Harrison Brookeman, EMS volunteer for 8 years.

From Nelson to Madison County, and in between, thousands of volunteers are getting much more than a meal

“This year we went out to local businesses and actually managed to get in goods and services retail value of them over $85,000 that will be distributed to EMS providers all through the region,” stated Joyce. “Actions always speak louder than words.”

Joyce said people can also show appreciation to those doing lifesaving work by volunteering in any capacity with EMS. Everything from figuring out finances to dropping by to visit can help.

List of sponsors for EMS Appreciation Week: