United Against Poverty (UP) was founded in 2003 by Austin and Ginny Hunt. A small member share grocery was opened in South Indian River County to serve those in need. The idea was to provide a hand up and not a hand out to people experiencing poverty. It was not a food bank but more of a co-op where people in need were able to maintain their dignity by paying for their own groceries.
The need did not lessen, and in 2009, UP opened a new site and a second member share grocery was soon to follow. The economic downturn was at its worst and United Against Poverty was there with increased service.
In the years since we have also expanded to Orlando and Fort Pierce helping people across the state receive access to needed programs and services.We continue to grow and change, providing innovative new programs to those below 200% of the federal poverty level. The need is very real in Indian River County and Vero Beach and United Against Poverty is here to stay.
Today, UP Indian River County (as our clients call us) has earned recognition as the busiest single-site social service agency in the state of Florida, serving an average of 600 individuals each day. In 2015, our campus provided 162,144 services for 5,916 unduplicated families. 100% of program participants fall at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, and the majority reside in Indian River County.
From the very beginning, UP Indian River County was destined to be a different kind of charity-one that focused on offering a hand up, not just a handout. The organization started as a unique Member Share Grocery Program, which offered much-needed dignity for families. Its popularity quickly grew and, as traffic to the campus increased, our clients expressed a need to have additional services available on-site.
Thank you so much for taking the time to get to know United Against Poverty (UP). This organization exists to serve the needs of as many people as possible. We could not do this without you, as your support is paramount to our continued existence.
The founders of United Against Poverty, Ginny and Austin Hunt grew up knowing financial struggles. Their passion to help those in need gave way to the creation of Harvest Food and Outreach in 2003 when they mortgaged their house to fund a center in South Vero. They worked hard, even conscripting their children to help. Today, after a name change, UP sees over 600 people per day at their Indian River County campuses.
UP strives to provide holistic care to low-income households, support their ability to become self-sufficient and ultimately break the cycle of poverty. To accomplish this efficiently, we give participants access to a variety of resources that will help them to help themselves. Addressing the issues of poverty and hunger in our community requires more than just offering food and financial services. United Against Poverty was founded to provide a hand-up rather than a handout – to help those in need find a solution rather than put a band-aid on the problem.