This Family Helps Others—Hear How Thrive Gives Helps Them

Last Update: September 27, 2022

The Thrive Gives program is one of the initiatives we’re most proud of at Thrive Market because it helps us deliver on our mission to make healthy living easy and affordable for every American family. New to Thrive Gives? It’s simple: For every paid member who joins Thrive Market, we provide a free membership to someone in need—primarily teachers, students, low-income families, veterans, and first responders around the country.

This month we’re introducing you to Alex and Shawna, a Jacksonville, Fla., couple who both work at local nonprofits. They’re used to being on a budget, but after Shawna was diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases, it forced them to scrutinise labels for all the products in their house—food, personal care, and cleaning products—so her symptoms wouldn’t get worse. You can meet Shawna’s family through our Thrive Member’s Spotlight on IGTV, and keep reading to learn more about her health journey.

1. What is the biggest impact Thrive Market has had on your life and/or your family members lives?

Thrive Market has been absolutely vital in ensuring that we’re able to afford the food and products I need to maintain my health. A few years ago, doctors told me there wasn’t a way for them to help with the autoimmune diseases I have. I started looking into alternatives to help my body heal, and now choose healthier food for my body, cleaner beauty products for my skin, and toxin-free cleaners for my house. I remember thinking, “Even if this works to help my body heal, there’s no way we can financially maintain this lifestyle.” That’s when I found Thrive Gives, and I’ve never had that fear or concern since!

2. Why did you want to tell your story? Tell us what inspired or motivated you to share your experience.

We’ve been SO very thankful for the generosity of other Thrive Market members, and wanted the world to know how much of an impact they’ve made! Thrive Gives has given me so much hope in the midst of such a hard and hopeless season with chronic illness. It seems almost too simple, but this membership gifted to us has helped so much!


3. What’s the most important thing you hope people will take away from your story?

I hope people will start believing that small acts of generosity can and do have a huge impact. That’s what Thrive Gives has been for us. Also, for anyone in the thick of chronic illness, there is hope for you, too!

4. If you weren’t ordering from Thrive Market, what would your process of getting healthy food look like?

Although there are many health food stores in our city, they range from 20 to 30 minutes away and prices are typically higher than our budget allows. If we weren’t able to order from Thrive Market, we’d need to shop weekly sales at multiple stores to afford the same products I buy online. This would look like at least three hours of driving each week, and visiting at least three stores. With being a mom to our sweet newborn, there’s no way this is realistic. Sometimes just grocery shopping at one store can be a challenge!

5. What makes up a typical Thrive Market order?

We usually order a mix of food, vitamins or supplements, skin care and beauty products, and household cleaners. Some of our favorites (and usually in every order) are Garden of Life supplements, Seventh Generation dish soap and dishwasher detergent, Simple Mills almond flour crackers, Thrive Market Goods coconut milk, Primal Kitchen salad dressings, Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour and gluten-free mixes, and Dr. Bronner’s castile soap.

6. What happens when a box arrives at your doorstep?

It feels like Christmas morning! We love getting to open up our box knowing everything will be in perfect condition. I love how well it’s always packaged and shipped. One of our favorite parts is getting to try a new product or two for free that came with our order as a gift, so pulling those out of the box is always a treat! A Thrive Market order always gets opened as soon as it arrives.

7. Describe a typical day of how your family eats or prepares meals.

Both of our nonprofit jobs require us to be on the go, and we don’t have a typical office to work from. With our lifestyle, it’s important to have food that’s easy to pack and take with us, especially because I need to eat strictly gluten-free. Meal prep normally starts the night before, with organizing healthy snacks that don’t need refrigeration, like almond flour crackers. In the morning, we love making açaí bowls with lots of healthy fat from flaxseed and coconut milk, protein from collagen powder, and fruit. A packed salad for lunch is a go-to for me, and the Primal Kitchen salad dressings are my favorite! With my diet, eating out can be challenging, so having a healthy lunch I’m excited about is really helpful.

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Nicole Gulotta

Nicole Gulotta is a writer, author, and tea enthusiast.

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