With the vision to decrease health disparities on the Treasure Coast coupled with their mission to support nurses through promoting community partnerships, providing scholarships and health education, the Treasure Coast Council of Black Nurses pulled together to support St. Lucie families in need in through their community partner, United Against Poverty (UAP).
The Council, whose nurse members have been collaborating since 2017 to meet the needs of the community, recently joined forces to donate non-perishable food items and baby supplies to United Against Poverty’s Crisis Stabilization Program and emergency pantry. On June 6, the nurses presented the pantry items to the Center for disbursement. “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, we have seen more and more families coming in who are in desperate need of food,” said Canieria Gardner, Executive Director of UAP’s Fort Pierce campus. “The pantry items donated by the Council comes at a critical time and we are blessed by their generosity,” said Ms. Gardner.
Throughout the pandemic, United Against Poverty’s doors have remained open, providing essential services to struggling families throughout the state. Mary Sirmons, Chair of the Council’s Scholarship Fund explains, “Our goal is to meet the need of the community in whatever way possible. Due to the crisis we were not able to fund a scholarship this year. They were then directed where they could make an immediate impact – the crisis food pantry.” With a focus on offering a hand up rather than a handout, the Crisis Stabilization team works alongside local families to help them 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.
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 together serve more than 1,500 low-income families daily.