Furman students surprise special needs adults with bags full of love ahead of Valentine’s Day

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – For the past 15 years, a normal Valentine’s Day for those at Thrive Upstate consisted of a large celebration filled with tons of fun, food and dancing. But this year, due to COVID-19, their plans have shifted.

This year, staff has limited capacity to about 60 people spread out at multiple Thrive locations across the Upstate, which they said is a much smaller party than they’re used to hosting.

In a normal year, the party is hosted on the campus of Furman University by the Heller Service Corps and welcomes 300 people.

Thrive’s clients were disappointed that the event was dramatically scaled down this year after a long wait of counting down until they could see their friends again.

“The individuals have been looking forward to seeing them since Christmas. They’ve talked about this Valentine’s Day dance since Christmas,” Lynne Langrehr, program manager at Thrive Upstate Blue Ridge, said.

Furman University students decided to step in to boost their spirits by delivering 150 gift bags filled with treats for Valentine’s Day.

“We hope this is a beacon of hope for our community. That while this year has been so difficult and while we had to reimagine the way that we live life in general , it is a wonderful way to show that there is still love and light in our community.” Addison Smith, student at Furman University, said.

Staff said they’ll be donating any leftover gift bags to other thrive locations across the Upstate.

Langrehr said she’s hoping Thrive can host a larger party sometime this Spring or Fall.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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