By Shonette Reed
Thrive DC got started back in 1979 as the Dinner Program for Homeless Women. Its first goal, providing meals to the hungry, came in response to Washington’s first major wave of homelessness. Since then the organization’s mission has grown to encompass far broader aims: “To prevent and end homelessness by providing vulnerable individuals with a comprehensive range of services to help stabilize their lives.”
Thrive DC’s services have expanded as well. The organization now offers homeless clients emergency services which include two meals a day, showers, laundry, a mailing address and telephone, internet access, personal care supplies, transportation assistance to medical appointments, and emergency clothing and blankets. Clients are also encouraged to take advantage of enrichment activities including art therapy, yoga and presentations on physical and mental health. Thrive DC also offers resume workshops and other help with job preparedness.
An emergency pantry program is available to individuals in need of supplemental food resources. The organization also provides assistance to victims of domestic or sexual violence.
In 2012, Thrive DC was able to serve 108,000 meals, including diabetic options, distribute 100,00 pounds of emergency groceries, and offer thousands of free showers and loads of clean laundry to its many clients.
Executive Director of Thrive DC, Alicia Horton, was recently recognized by the Washington Wizards as a Black History Month Community Spotlight Honoree due to her dedicated leadership on the issues of hunger and homelessness.