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August 8, 2020

7/15/2020 11:31:00 AM
Thrive Alliance helping meet senior citizens' nutritional needs
Carol Snap (left), a resident at North Vernon Senior Housing, receives a hot meal prepared by Grateful Grubb. Handing her the meal is Thrive Alliance employee Beth Hummel.—Submitted Photo.
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Carol Snap (left), a resident at North Vernon Senior Housing, receives a hot meal prepared by Grateful Grubb. Handing her the meal is Thrive Alliance employee Beth Hummel.—Submitted Photo.
Kylan Higgs


COVID-19 has disrupted the lives of many, and arguably, the people whose lives have been disrupted the most are those of the elderly.

According to the CDC, the elderly are in the high-risk category when it comes to contracting the virus. To protect the more at-risk citizens, extreme measures have been put in place. Nursing homes and senior centers have shut their doors to the public, residents are not allowed to see their family and friends - except from six feet away out the window - and the residents are restricted from everyday social and outdoor activities. Seniors who still live on their own are cautioned to stay indoors, as well. Family and friends must take it upon themselves to keep their distance in order to protect their loved ones.

With instructions to keep indoors and grocery stores being a hotspot for germs, the question arose as to how the senior citizens would be able to maintain good nutrition.

The saving grace for some North Vernon seniors is Thrive Alliance. Thrive is a southern Indiana human services non-profit and has delivered a congregate meal site program for 35 years.

Prior to COVID-19, Thrive Alliance had at least two sites where seniors could enjoy a hot meal Monday through Friday:

The JC Senior Center on Buckeye Street, which has now been closed several months, and the North Vernon Senior Housing on Henry Street where Thrive Alliance provided the meal.

In addition, both sites offered seniors social interaction, a much needed component of health.

Once the pandemic hit, Thrive Alliance had put the group meals on hold, according to Sue Lamborn, the Outreach & Community Relations Manager for Thrive Alliance in Columbus. However, the Alliance knew there would be seniors who still needed to be fed.

Food home deliveries has always been an option offered by Thrive Alliance, which proved to be a great option for home-delivered meals.

Thrive has found that with COVID 19, social distancing requirements and stay-at-home directives, many older adults have been removed from routine companionship and are feeling isolated and lonely. In a response to the increased need, Thrive has collaborated with Bartholomew County Public Library to develop what they are calling a Virtual Senior Cafe.

The platform being utilized for the Cafe is ZOOM and there are two sessions a month. During these sessions, topics such as health and wellness, history, arts, book clubs, music and more are presented virtually. It's preferred that the participant have access to a computer, table, or phone, a webcam and internet connection; however, if the individual has a basic phone they can always join this event by simply calling in.

This Cafe service is in addition to the frozen food deliveries seniors receive once a week, which will provide them with ten or more meals for the week. Right now Thrive is delivering 127 plus meals via contracted vendors or FedEx.

In addition, Thrive Alliance staff recently offered home-delivered hot meals to residents of North Vernon Senior Housing, their regular congregate meal site. The meals are prepared by Grateful Grubb and delivered by Thrive Alliance staff members. Similar hot meal delivery is planned for the upcoming weeks.

"This is one way that Thrive Alliance is continuing to provide needed services despite the pandemic disruption," Sue Lamborn said.
Sue urges anyone over the age of 60 living in Jennings County with a food need or any other service due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and the closing of Save-A-Lot-Grocery store, to call them at 812-372-6918.





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