Meet the Thrives Gives Member Finishing Grad School and Helping Her Family Eat Healthier

Last Update: March 18, 2020

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 for someone in need—primarily teachers, students, low-income families, veterans, and first responders around the country.

This month, we’re introducing you to Thrive Gives member, Weronika (pronounced “Veronica”) , who relies on her Thrive Gives membership to access healthy food and household products for her and her family. Meet Weronika on our Thrive Member’s Spotlight on IGTV, and read on to learn more about her story.

1. What’s the biggest impact Thrive Market has had on the lives of you and your family members?

Becoming members of Thrive Market has opened up a more accessible and affordable way for us to choose healthier options for our meals. As a busy student, I would often resort to buying quick, cheap, processed meals from vending machines or nearby convenience stores. When I became a Thrive member, I was able to buy necessary ingredients and lunch items in bulk in a more efficient manner. Plus, it allowed me to save money and become more conscious about food cravings and making healthier meal choices.

I also order for my parents and siblings—both of my siblings have been diagnosed with Autism and are nonverbal, so they have a hard time going to grocery stores.

My parents also always had limited opportunities to shop for groceries in between work and caregiving for my siblings. Thrive Market allowed them to shop for certain needed items with less stress while also involving both my siblings in the process.

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

I was motivated to share my story when I realized that Thrive Market is a way for families of individuals with disabilities to more easily complete their grocery shopping. There are many families out there who have a hard time completing certain routine activities, such as shopping, as they may have a family member with a sensory
processing disorder, a physical disability, or other situation. Providing alternative and virtual options is important for helping these families have equal access to healthy and affordable food options.

Also, because I’m currently completing my graduate studies, having
virtual access to a grocery store kept me from worrying about how I was going to get my meals while juggling classes, a part-time job, and helping my family. I think having this option is important for helping students make sure they have nutritional meals on busy days.

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

I hope that readers will understand the value of supporting businesses that promote increased access to grocery shopping for individuals of all different abilities and experiences.

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

We would probably shop at nearby local chain grocery stores and buy organic and healthy options that fit within our budget. As these items are usually more expensive in stores, we would most likely end up buying less items or resort to non-organic options.

5. What makes up a typical Thrive Market order? Be sure to shout out some of your and/or your family’s favorite products!

We are big oatmeal eaters. My sister requests a bowl every morning and I believe it gives her the energy she needs to start her day. We order the Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Regular/Quick Rolled Oats (as both my siblings have gluten intolerances) and occasionally the Thrive Market brand of almond butter to add in some healthy fat
and protein.

We also order Lotus Foods Organic Pad Thai Rice Noodles as these are also gluten-free and make up the base of some of our favorite meals.

Mary’s Gone Crackers and Enjoy Life granola bars are also great gluten-free, low-sugar additions for our lunches.

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

Opening the box is a family affair. It brings us together. It’s an exciting moment to see all the fun things finally come in (and we definitely dig into some of the snacks right away).

My brother is also a pro at recycling and he makes sure every part of the package later gets compacted and put into our recycling bin.

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

We usually have oatmeal and a fruit/vegetable smoothie in the morning for breakfast. My siblings both have sensory issues, so they do not like the texture of certain foods, particularly fruits and vegetables. Smoothies are a great way for us to ensure they get
the nutrition they need, especially if we include some of the superfoods we order on Thrive Market, like Amazing Grass greens powder or chia seeds.

Our biggest meal of the day is lunch, so we try to make that our main cooked meal to be either eaten at home or at school/work. We usually go with a noodle dish, quinoa salad, or a meat and potato dish. It’s nice to quickly order certain spices or herbs for these dishes right on Thrive Market when we notice that we are getting low— instead of writing it down on a list that will most likely disappear in a couple hours.

We end the day with a light snack as our supper, which can include berries or almond butter with crackers.

8. What’s one healthy living tip you’ve come to swear by, or one that has changed your habits or outlook for the better?

When we began avoiding processed foods that have a ton of unhealthy fats, sugar, and additives in them, we noticed a significant shift in our health. All of us lost weight and have more energy throughout our day. I’ve noticed for myself that I am able to think
more clearly and don’t feel as fatigued when I include more colorful vegetables and fruits and organic ingredients into my meals, which definitely then helps me concentrate on my studies!

Read more Thrive Gives Member Spotlights and more Thrive Gives initiatives here.

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Kate Puhala

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