United Way of St. Lucie County Gives a Hand Up to Families in Need

“Who will tackle the problems most shy away from? United, we will” is the motto that United Way of St. Lucie aspires to uphold in its effort to fund areas of education, financial stability and health. Since 1962 the organization has been committed to ensuring that families being served by St. Lucie County non-profits have access to basic needs, which has been of even more concern during the COVID-19 pandemic. Recently, United Way presented an incredible $10,000 gift to United Against Poverty (UAP) of St. Lucie County. UAP, who operates an UP Center at 2520 Orange Avenue in Fort Pierce, will use the funds to address the heighted demand for their services due to COVID.

“It’s amazing to see members of our community come together and make an impact,” said Jessica Parrish, President and CEO of United Way of St. Lucie County. “The contributions made to our COVID-19 Economic Relief Fund made it possible for us to provide United Against Poverty with this crucial funding.”

United Against Poverty’s doors have remained open throughout the pandemic, providing essential services to struggling families throughout the state. UAP Executive Director Canieria Gardner explains, “We’ve been open since the beginning of the pandemic. We continue to see more and more families coming in who need food, crisis services, and most of all hope.” UAP’s Crisis Navigators focus on offering a hand up rather than a handout as they work alongside 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.

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.