Celebrating pride of self-sufficiency at upbeat ‘UP’ party

Barbara Lowrey, Matt Tanner, Marilyn Crockett Marion and Jane McNulty Snead. PHOTO BY JOSHUA KODIS

At a Donor Appreciation Party at the Grand Harbor Golf Club hosted by United Against Poverty of Indian River County, guests were treated to a delightful evening of cocktails and dinner, while also learning a little more about how their generosity is helping others to lift themselves out of poverty and into self-sufficiency.

United Against Poverty takes a holistic approach with programs such as crisis care, case management, education, food and household subsidy, and employment training, all within the walls of the impressive UP Center. UP collaborates with partner agencies, some on site, that offer healthcare, domestic violence counseling, mental health support, utility relief, senior services, veterans assistance and child care.

Matt Tanner, UP executive director, noted that in 2023, they experienced their best year in the history of STEP (Success Training Employment Program). Through that three-phase initiative, which consists of job training, career connections, and success coaching, 86 adults found employment, resulting in more than $2 million in combined earnings.

Their Member Share Grocery Program, an inviting store filled with a wealth of groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables, assists families living at 200 percent or below the Federal Poverty Level. Additionally, their Member Share Marketplace offers housewares and cleaning products, clothing, medicines and vitamins, children’s toys and pet goods, home improvement items, and school and office supplies.

Tanner noted that 23,000 households experiencing food insecurity utilized the program last year, another record high. As a result, those households were able to retain $7.2 million in resources to put toward other household survival budget areas, such as escalating rent, childcare and insurance costs.

Their Crisis Stabilization program assists vulnerable individuals on a one-on-one basis, first assessing the situation and then tailoring a plan to best fit their needs.

“For the second time in our history, the crisis team worked with over 1,000 unique households, providing 7,000-plus services to help individuals and families on a pathway out of poverty and to economic self-sufficiency,” said Tanner.

For more information, visit UPIRC.org.

Photos by Joshua Kodis

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