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State Farm Gives a Hand Up to Families in Need

(Left to right) Bill Knight, Canieria Gardner Executive Director UAP, Larry Lee, Jr.

State Farm’s motto of “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” has held true through hurricanes, pandemics and all of the days in between. And just like good neighbors, two local State Farm agencies have pulled together to support St. Lucie families in need in through their community partner, United Against Poverty (UAP).

State Farm Insurance agents Bill Knight Jr., whose agency is located at 2301 Sunrise Boulevard, and Larry Lee Jr., whose agency is located at 4075 Virginia Avenue, recently joined forces to donate $1,000 towards United Against Poverty’s crisis stabilization program. On May 18, Knight and Lee presented the check to Canieria Gardner, Executive Director of the organization’s Fort Pierce UP Center. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen more and more families coming in who have been furloughed or laid off,” said Ms. Gardner. “Our Crisis Stabilization Program has seen a significant increase in demand as families struggle to keep up with their basic necessities.”

United Against Poverty’s doors have remained open throughout the pandemic, providing essential services to struggling families throughout the state. Mr. Knight explains, “Year after year, day after day, United Against Poverty continues to serve our Neighbors. As a State Farm Agent, I am proud to continue to support this great organization! Making a difference!” UAP’s Crisis Navigators focus on offering a hand up rather than a hand out as they work alongside local families to regain stability through dignified food assistance, housing assessment, career coaching, mental health and substance abuse referral, domestic violence response and more. Additionally, the organization’s computer labs have been vital in helping adults access and apply for programs such as Reemployment Assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicare and Medicaid despite the closure of Florida’s State Agency offices.

“I have been affiliated with the mission of United Against Poverty for more than a decade and have seen firsthand the impact that their services have on the community,” stated Mr. Lee. “So when State Farm asked its agents to select an organization that is going above and beyond to help people during the COVID-19 pandemic, both Bill Knight and I immediately thought of UAP.”

United Against Poverty is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to inspire and empower people living in poverty to lift themselves and their families to economic self-sufficiency. The organization operates UP Centers in Indian River County, Orlando and St. Lucie County which serve more than 1,500 low-income families daily.