Kirsten Mustain

Grove Sun

Coffee and comfort are available at the Grove United Methodist Church on the first Friday of every month for area grandparents who find themselves faced with the responsibility of raising their grandchildren.

The group, which was started about six years ago with a grant through the Wyandotte Nation Senior Citizens Program, is informal and open to any grandparent who needs to talk to people who are facing similar life circumstances.

“We are just always here for anyone who wants to come,” explained Elder Services Caregiver Specialist Dari Ann Hunnicutt, who runs the program.

Refreshments, prizes and information are available to attendees every month, along with a comfortable atmosphere in which they can share their trials and tribulations and find real solutions for their problems.

Hunnicutt said the size of the group varies from month to month. Usually about four people attend, sometimes more, sometimes less.

“We never know how many we’ll have,” she said.

But, no matter how many people attend, Hunnicutt is always there with one goal in mind.

“We try to help however we can,” she said.

Hunnicutt said that grandparents with concerns ranging from effective parenting tactics to locating and paying for caregivers to watch their grandchildren so they can take a break can find the answers they need at the support group.

She said the Wyandotte Nation also has respite funds available for qualifying grandparents to help pay for babysitting services.

Hunnicutt said the group is always looking to help new people.

“A lot of the people who used to come don’t come anymore due to illness or because they aren’t raising their grandkids anymore,” she said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 6.1 million grandparents in the United States who had grandchildren younger than 18 living with them.

Out of that number, 2.5 million were responsible for most of the basic needs of those grandchildren.

Hunnicutt noted that her agency is always available to help out any way they can.

She may be reached at 1-800-256-2539 ext. 253.