UNITED AGAINST POVERTY PROVIDES A SEAT AT THE TABLE
“How many people can say that they have actually helped someone have a seat at the table of opportunity and hope?” was the opening question of the October 22nd virtual Hand UP event hosted by United Against Poverty St. Lucie. The question was posed by Canieria Gardner, Executive Director of the campus, who took the nearly 150 attendees through the journey of the “power of we” and the need to come together as a community to help St. Lucie County families struggling economically, particularly those suffering loss of job or worse, loss of a loved due to the pandemic. Mrs. Gardner commented that, “51% of St. Lucie County residents are considered the working poor. Since COVID, this number is sure to have increased by more than 20%, thrusting many into a crisis.”
The lunch time presentation also included an impassioned video clip from Norm and Sandy Stevenson, the 2019 Hand UP Recipients, on the state of the community and the need to help lift lives. “If we can’t visualize the future different from our present circumstances” commented Mrs. Stevenson, “there’s no motivation to grow and that’s a loss for everyone - not just for the person mired in poverty.”
The annual event, which is normally a luncheon, was held virtually to accommodate social distancing practices and guests’ desire to remain safe amidst the continuing concerns surrounding the pandemic. At the conclusion of the presentation, guests were asked to get involved either through volunteerism, advocacy, or financially.
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 1,100 low-income families daily, making them one of the busiest social service agencies in Florida. For more information, visit their website at www.unitedagainstpoverty.org.