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Where Angels Go, Healing Follows

Visiting Angels of Verona one of 134 recipients of $15,000 grant from Citizens Bank’s Small Business Recovery Program

By Tiffany Cuddihy | Citizens Bank Staff

Fear is all around us, thanks to the current COVID-19 pandemic. But so is hope.

Trish Thiel and her husband Michael, are dedicated to being that source of hope.

The Theils are the owners of a Visting Angels® franchise in Verona, Pennsylvania, a borough just Northeast of Pittsburg in Allegheny County. Visiting Angels is a national organization that offers in-home care to senior patients living either independently or at assisted living facilities.

“Allegheny County has the second largest senior population in America,” Trish states. “These people are all alone due to this pandemic.”

Trish, who takes care of client needs while her husband handles accounting and office work, is devastated watching these seniors being forced into further isolation – away from their families and friends due to COVID-19 visitation restrictions and social distancing mandates.

“It’s heartbreaking to see families unable to be there for their elderly relatives,” she notes. “We do our best to mitigate their pain by taking good care of their loved ones for them.”

In fact, Trish herself has a family member who is currently one of these seniors. It’s been agonizing for her to not be able to hold their hand and hug the lonliness away.

Visiting Angles of Verona senior patients sit ouside for a car parade.

Visiting Angels of Verona in Pennsylvania is doing its part to connect their senior patients with their families.

In fact, Trish herself has a family member who is currently one of these seniors. It’s been agonizing for her to not be able to hold their hand and hug the loneliness away.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented seniors from interacting with the people closest to them, it’s also proven why dedicated senior care, like Visiting Angels, is such a vital resource.

“Our goal is to help seniors maintain their independence,” Trish says. “Often, they lose their purpose in life and it’s our job to restore that … especially now.”

RELATED: Grant Recipient Broad Street Ministry Continuing Its Mission in Philadelphia

Visiting Angels of Verona provides hourly, overnight, and 24-hour care to seniors throughout Allegheny and Westmoreland Counties. Their team of “angels” offer light housekeeping, meal preparation, personal care, medication reminders, and, perhaps most importantly, companionship to their senior patients.

The Thiel family’s commitment and compassion is why Visiting Angels of Verona is one of 134 recipients of a $15,000 grant from the Citizens Bank Small Business Recovery Program. The program has awarded a collective $2 million in grants to local businesses.

When Trish found out that they’d been selected for the grant, she was speechless. She wiped away tears of joy in time to gather her thoughts: “I’m just so overwhelmed with gratitude for this grant!”

The $15,000 grant money has already been put to good use. So far, it’s paid for 1,000 masks that were donated to a local residential facility that didn’t have proper protective gear for their seniors and staff. Trish also made sure her staff of “angels” had the money needed to buy food and other essentials for themselves.

The rest of the money is being put toward new protocol to protect her staff and patients.

“We’re now taking staff temperartures before visits, handing out masks and face shields, and ensuring that our angels haven’t been around anyone before a visitation occurs,” Trish says.

Visting Angels of Verona is fighting hard to care for our aging grandparents, parents, and neighbors. Under normal circumstances, companionship for the elderly may not have seemed like an essential service. That’s clearly not the case anymore. Companionship is a need we all share and greatly miss during this isolating time.

“Too often people lose hope during hard times,” Trish says, “so focusing on the good can make such a difference.”

We could all use an angel right now.

We’re made ready to help small businesses

Citizens Bank is committed to helping support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve committed $5 million to help support local businesses, including the more than $2 million in grants provided to 134 businesses.

Check out all the ways Citizens Bank is supporting local businesses and our communities during the pandemic.

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