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Martin County Passes Emergency Ordinance for Mandatory Face Coverings in Public

19 July MC Commissioners logo

Martin County - On Thursday, July 7, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners passed an emergency ordinance requiring face coverings be worn in public to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. This order applies to all incorporated and unincorporated areas.

“We cannot ignore the increase in cases in our community, neighboring counties and across the state. And, today, based on medical and health professionals’ recommendations, the board passed an emergency ordinance requiring all residents and visitors wear face coverings when in public in Martin County,” said Board Chair Harold Jenkins.

Face coverings must be worn by all persons in:
Indoor Public Places, Businesses and Establishments. Face coverings must be worn by all persons while obtaining or providing any goods or services or otherwise visiting or working in any indoor public place, business or establishment.

Outdoor Public Places, Businesses and Establishments. Face coverings must be worn by all persons while obtaining or providing any goods or services or otherwise visiting or working in outdoor public places, businesses and establishments where social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines is not possible and/or not being practiced.

Restaurants and Food Service Establishments. Face coverings must be worn by all persons in restaurants and food service establishments whether indoors or outdoors except when actively consuming food or beverages.

County and Municipal Government Facilities. All persons accessing governmental buildings for the purposes of conducting public business, visitation, contracting and maintenance, delivery or any other activity requiring a presence in a governmental building shall wear face coverings at all times while in the building. For purposes of this Emergency Order, governmental buildings shall mean any Martin County or municipal-owned and operated buildings, including, but not limited to, office buildings, fire rescue stations, service centers, recreational facilities and libraries.

Face coverings are not required for the following:
• Children under six (6) years of age and any child while under the custody of a licensed childcare facility, including schools, summer camps and daycare centers.

• Individuals prohibited from wearing face coverings by Federal or State safety or health regulations.

• Public safety, fire or other life safety personnel that have personal protective equipment requirements governed by their respective agencies.

• Persons actively engaged in exercise and who are social distancing in accordance with CDC guidelines.

• Persons receiving goods and services from a business or establishment for the shortest practical period of time during which the receipt of such goods or services necessarily precludes the wearing of a face covering such as, but not limited to, consuming food or beverage or receiving dental services, facial grooming or treatments.

• Persons who have a medical condition or disability that makes the wearing of face coverings unsafe.

• Face coverings may be removed temporarily while assisting persons who are hearing impaired or who rely on reading lips in order to communicate.

• Persons in private rooms of a lodging establishment, such as hotel, motel or vacation rental; however, face coverings must be worn in common areas as proscribed by this ordinance.

• Persons engaged in outdoor work or recreation with appropriate social distancing pursuant to CDC guidelines in place and being practiced.

To view this emergency ordinance in its entirety, a summary and FAQs, as well as all other COVID-19 information related to Martin County, visit www.martin.fl.us/Coronavirus. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional county information. For health questions related to COVID-19, residents can call the 24-hour Florida Department of Health (FDOH) Call Center at 866-779-6121 or email COVID-19@flhealth.gov. Information is also available on the FDOH website.

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Semi-annual Free Chlorine Maintenance

19 July MC Commissioners logo

Martin County Utilities, City of Stuart and South Martin Regional Utility (SMRU) will temporarily change the method of chlorinating potable water to insure the future safety of the water. Utility water users may notice an unusual chlorine taste or odor in their tap water during the period of July 5 - July 19.
This is a standard operating procedure that is recommended by the American Water Works Association and other leaders within the water industry, and is a preventive maintenance process for safe drinking water. These temporary conditions are not harmful, however, those on kidney dialysis, should consult their physician for special instructions concerning this matter. Residents with tropical fish or aquatic animals, should contact a local tropical fish store for advice and take appropriate action to ensure that water is properly treated before adding to an aquarium.

The hydrant flushing during this period may cause the water to become cloudy and discolored. This is a temporary condition and should not last more than a few hours.

For more information contact Martin County Utilities Customer Service at (772) 221-1434, the City of Stuart Customer Service at (772) 288-5317 or (772) 288-5318 or South Martin Regional Utility (SMRU) Customer Service at (772) 546-2511.

Martin County Updates & ReOpenings

19 July MC Commissioners logo

The Martin County Board of County Commissioners has been making plans and preparations to reopen offices to the public in a phased approach. The following county facilities and offices have reopened or have partially reopened to the public.

BLAKE LIBRARY:

Partially reopening for grab-and-go services: On Monday, July 6, the Blake Library in Stuart will partially reopen to provide computer access, printing and copying, reference services, and item pick-up. This includes Summer Reading Program prize pick-up.

At this time, only a portion of the first floor will be accessible. The bookshelves, magazine and newspaper racks, and children’s area will be closed until further notice.

For the health and safety of all visitors, face coverings are required and only 20 patrons will be admitted at a time to allow for 6-foot social distancing. The library will close midday from 12 to 2 p.m. for cleaning. The library is quarantining items and asks that all returns are put into the outside book drops.

While the reopening schedule for other library locations will be released soon, hold pick-up and access to Wi-Fi and mobile printing continues at all Martin County Library System locations during regular hours.

MARTIN COUNTY UTILITIES:

As of June 1, Martin County Utilities is open to the public, by appointment only. To make an appointment, customers should call (772) 221-1434, Monday-Friday, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Measures such as protective barriers and increased sanitization have been put in place to ensure the health and safety of employees and the public. Customers are encouraged to wear face coverings when entering the building and to continue to use online, email and by phone options for conducting business whenever possible.

Ways to make a utilities payment without an office visit:

Pay online
Mail payment to: Martin County Utilities, P.O. Box 9000, Stuart, FL 34995
Leave payment in a secure envelope in the blue dropbox located in parking lot at 3473 SE Willoughby Blvd.

HUMAN SERVICES:

As of June 1, the Human Services Office is open to the public, by appointment only. To ensure the health and safety of employees and the public, clients are required to wear face coverings. To make an appointment, call (772) 288-5786, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

VETERANS SERVICES:

As of June 1, the Veterans Service Office is open to the public, by appointment only. To ensure the health and safety of employees and the public, clients are required to wear face coverings. To make an appointment, call (772) 288-5448, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Local Church Makes "My Very Own" Bags for Children in Foster Care

Mar Communities connect

Fort Pierce- A sewing group at the Midport Seventh-Day Advenist Church wants to make sure children entering foster care have at least one thing to call their own.

The Treasure Coast chapter of the It's My Very Own, a faith-based organization that provides handmade bags full of toiletries and age-appropriate items to children displaced from their homes, provided the first 10 bags of a promised ongoing supply to Communities Connected for Kids in June.

They were gone within a week, said Christina Kaiser, CCKids community relations director.

Fortunately, It's My Very Own makes it easy to replace the bags. Each comes with a self-addressed, stamped postcard that can be removed and placed in the mail when the bag is given to a child. The postcard alerts the group that its time to replace the bags.

Each bag includes a handmade quilt, stuffed animal, toys, books and personal items. The bags are age appropriate and are delivered to local agencies, like CCKids, charged with removing children from home because of abuse or neglect.

Rashandia Johnson, dependency case manager supervisor in St. Lucie County, distributed six this week for children in her unit.

"These bags provide comfort to children who come into care and give them something of their own at a time when all they might have is the clothing on their backs," Johnson said. "The stuffed animals and blankets in the bags give them something to cuddle at night when they are crying themselves to sleep after being removed from their families."

The Treasure Coast chapter of It's My Very Own is one of seven in the state. Together with the similar My Stuff program and other local drives that provide overnight bags and suitcases to children in foster care, the program is moving local child-welfare professionals away from a one-time dependence on plastic bags when moving children out of their homes.

"Those days are over," Kaiser said. "Our community has made sure that local children enter foster care with some dignity - something that's hard to do when everything you own is in a trash bag."

Blake Library to Partially Reopen for Grab-and-Go Services

20 June Martin Recovery

On Monday July 6, the Blake Library in Stuart will partially reopen to provide computer access, printing and copying, reference services, and item pick-up. This includes Summer Reading Program prize pick-up. At this time, only a portion of the first floor will be accessible. The bookshelves, magazine and newspaper racks, and children’s area will be closed until further notice.

For the health and safety of all visitors, face coverings are required and only 20 patrons will be admitted at a time to allow for 6-foot social distancing. The library will close midday from 12 to 2 p.m. for cleaning. The library is quarantining items and asks that all returns are put into the outside book drops.

While the reopening schedule for other library locations will be released soon, hold pick-up and access to Wi-Fi and mobile printing continues at all Martin County Library System locations during regular hours.

Visit www.martin.fl.us/Coronavirus, Martin County’s online resource for information related to COVID-19. For the most up-to-date info on Martin County Library System happenings, follow us on Facebook @MartinCountyLibrarySystem.

Out2News/Out2martincounty.com is your online newspaper where you are the reporter and photographer and you report the news! Do you have something to say, an event to a talk about? An event you would like us to have covered. Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

We Are Parks and Recreation - Martin County Challenge

20 June MC Logos Multi

Would you like to showcase that your business is open? Here is an idea the Parks and Recreation is putting together to help with their #WeAreParksandRec Challenge initiative.

The Martin County Parks and Recreation Department is proud to announce a great community building opportunity for businesses that would like to support the upcoming “We Are Parks and Recreation” initiative; a Scavenger Hunt Challenge to support July as Parks and Recreation Month.

We are currently seeking donations from local businesses to help make this event even better than in prior years. We were hoping your business would be kind enough to donate gift certificates/cards/coupons, which will be given out as prizes to the public. In exchange for your in-kind donation, your business will be recognized for its support. Please contact us for more information.

During Parks and Recreation Month, Martin County Parks and Recreation wants to CHALLENGE the public to stay active and visit our parks in the county via a scavenger hunt. CDC social distancing guidelines apply. This year’s theme of “We Are Parks and Recreation” will help the public know our initiative that “We Are Strong, Confident, Selfless, Passionate, Driven, Essential, and We are Parks and Recreation”.

Attached for your review and consideration is the Donation form we have available for the Parks and Recreation Month Challenge. As a donor, your business will have an opportunity to show support of parks and recreation related activities and ongoing commitment to improving the health, well-being, and quality of life of Martin County residents. Businesses that want to make a difference, increase exposure, promote their services or products to Martin County families, or recognize the importance and benefits of parks and recreation, are invited to participate. There are a variety of opportunities to choose from and we can work with you on the best ways to promote your business and what will fit your needs. We are sensitive to these challenging times and understand if you cannot participate. Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions and we will be more than happy to assist you.

If you are interested in donating to the Park and Recreation Month Challenge or exploring any of the other sponsorship opportunities we have available, please respond to this e-mail by Friday, July 3 and we will be happy to assist you and/or schedule a meeting with you to discuss the best ways to promote your business with Martin County Parks and Recreation.

Martin County Office of Tourism Launches #MartinTogether Campaign

20 June Martin Recovery

The Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing recently launched the #MartinTogether campaign to help support local businesses, bolster consumer confidence and raise awareness about traveling safely amid COVID-19.

“Tourism is a vital component of the Martin County economy and can be a catalyst to help with our economic recovery,” said Nerissa Okiye, Director of the Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing.

A dedicated website, www.martintogether.com, serves as the hub for the effort, allowing local business owners to showcase their commitment to following public health and safety guidelines by taking the #MartinTogether pledge. Components of the pledge include the most up-to-date recommendations set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Once the pledge is signed, each business will be added into the #MartinTogether directory so residents and tourists alike will feel confident with the participating businesses safety efforts when shopping.

The website also features a downloadable #MartinTogether tool kit businesses can utilize as part of their COVID-19 response, complete with branded signage and social distancing floor decals. The toolkit also includes traveler safety information and health guidance, trip planning resources and a link to tourism information. As an added incentive to participate, the #MartinTogether program will be bolstered by a paid local media campaign.

Follow the Martin County Office of Tourism and Marketing on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @discovermartin and YouTube @discovermartincounty, FL.

Out2News/Out2martincounty.com is your online newspaper where you are the reporter and photographer and you report the news! Do you have something to say, an event to a talk about? An event you would like us to have covered. Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

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Open for FREE Summer Enrichment

20 June MC Boys and Girls Club

Martin County - We are OPEN and members are thrilled to be participating in SAFE and FREE Club programming with their favorite staff! After months of school and Club closure, we are happy to be back in our Clubs serving those who need us the most!

Our Clubs served nearly 250 children this week in our Hobe Sound, Port Salerno, Palm City, and Stuart locations.

Academic programming with our certified teachers provide support for learning loss due to the Covid and Summer Slides. Members have the opportunity to participate in activities from STEM to athletics, and much more!

Since March 16th, we have served over 68,000 meals to our community. Our Clubs serve breakfast, lunch, and snack to our members daily. On Fridays, we are sending each child home with a "backpack" of pantry items to help the entire family for the weekend. We are looking for donations to help administer the programs including the Backpack Buddies for the families we serve. Join one of our Challenges today and provide Covid Response and Relief for families in Martin County.

Click Here To Join a Challenge!

Sign up for FREE Summer Enrichment today! Space is limited for our Hobe Sound, Port Salerno, Stuart, and Palm City Clubs. Please call your local Club directly to inquire more.

Bill and Barbara Whitman Club in Indiantown
Safety remains the number one priority of Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County and we are doing everything possible to keep children, our staff, and volunteers protected from the COVID-19 virus. Due to ongoing efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our community, we made the difficult decision to keep the Bill and Barbara Whitman Club in Indiantown closed for the remainder of the summer. During this time, we will continue our efforts to ensure that all kids, staff, and volunteers are safe when the Club reopens.

Virtual Club Programming:
We will continue, and in fact ramp up, our online interventions through Club Connect for the Indiantown Club members, including our HERO programming with case workers and academic interventions with certified teachers.

Meals:
In addition, the Indiantown Club will continue to serve as a summer meal site, providing breakfast, lunch and snack during the day for youth, from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Based on community feedback from our Indiantown families, we are bringing back dinner service in June, Monday through Friday from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm (on a first come, first serve basis as supplies last). On Fridays, we will also provide a backpack full of pantry and produce items for Club members for the weekend.

In the meantime, we are advising all our Club staff, families, and youth to continue to take precautions as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

If community members have additional questions, please contact us 772-545-1255. We will continue to update you with new information and plans to reopen at a later date.

United Way of Martin County Needs Help to Ensure Students Have Tools for Success

Mar United Way of MC Logo
20 June United Way

Stuart – Planning is underway for the new school year, and while schools and education may look different in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, the need for school supplies, and the expense that comes along with it, never goes away.

To alleviate the financial burden on families and educators, United Way of Martin County, Publix Super Markets, and a collaborative of community partners started the Tools for Success program last year. The program provided 8,836 students with 190,005 school supplies saving Martin County families $54,692 in school supply costs.

This year, due to the uncertainty surrounding school openings, the goal is to provide basic supply kits for each student in elementary school. If traditional classroom learning resumes in the fall, the kits will be waiting for each student in their classroom. If alternate plans are implemented, each child will be issued supply kits to assist with virtual learning. The kits will include grade-appropriate items such as glue sticks, pencil sharpeners, paper, notebooks, crayons, pencils, colored pencils and markers.

“Students’ lives have been dramatically disrupted due to the coronavirus outbreak and while there is still considerable uncertainty about how learning will resume in the fall, one thing we know for sure is that the needs will be greater than ever,” said United Way of Martin County President and CEO Carol G. Houwaart-Diez said.

United Way of Martin County is looking to the community for both donations of school supplies and monetary support. Suggested supplies include pencils, erasers, glue sticks and gallon sized zipper bags. For more information, including an Amazon wish list, visit www.UnitedWayMartin.org/ToolsForSuccess.

Out2News/Out2martincounty.com is your online newspaper where you are the reporter and photographer and you report the news! Do you have something to say, an event to a talk about? An event you would like us to have covered. Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Martin County Installs WeatherSTEM System

20 June Weather Stem

Martin County - Martin County Emergency Management is excited to announce the acquisition and implementation of a new weather monitoring system, WeatherSTEM. This innovative monitoring system allows for more accurate forecasting of current and potential weather conditions through Smart Weather Technology. WeatherSTEM provides users live-streaming high resolution weather cameras, weather health/safety alert notifications, lightning detection, heat level monitoring, and real-time/future-cast radar information.

Martin County has strategically placed WeatherSTEM weather stations across the community, which will help first response partners understand, in real-time, weather related hazards which may be a threat, including high heat conditions and lightning. This system will allow the Martin County community to have more access to current and historical publicly available weather information and data. The implementation of WeatherSTEM is done in partnership with the Florida Division of Emergency Management, who will cover all associated costs for the initial three years. Future costs will be covered through Emergency Management grants.

"The WeatherSTEM system will provide timely, potentially life-saving information to the Martin County community," says Michele Jones, Martin County Emergency Management Director.

WeatherSTEM is in place and active at locations throughout Martin County. Residents can access the local WeatherSTEM forecasts and weather monitoring by visiting http://martin.weatherstem.com/ or by downloading the WeatherSTEM app through the Apple App Store or on Google Play.

Out2News/Out2martincounty.com is your online newspaper where you are the reporter and photographer and you report the news! Do you have something to say, an event to a talk about? An event you would like us to have covered. Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

DOH-MARTIN URGES RESIDENTS TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM MOSQUITO AND TICK-BORNE ILLNESSES

19 Aug Fl Health Logo

Martin County – The Florida Department of Health in Martin County (DOH-Martin) is urging all residents and visitors, especially those that are spending time outdoors, to protect themselves from mosquito and tick bites this summer season. While most tick and mosquito bites are only an annoyance, sometimes these bites can be dangerous. Preventing bites reduces the risk of a person getting infected with a mosquito- or tick-borne disease.

“With the extensive amount of rainfall in our area mosquito breeding is expected, so it’s very important that all residents take steps to protect themselves from being bitten.” said Carol Ann Vitani, Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Martin County.

Mosquito Bite Prevention

Using the right insect repellent and other preventive actions can discourage mosquitoes from landing on you. Follow these Drain and Cover tips to help prevent mosquito bites.

Drain water from outside areas to reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.

· Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flowerpots or any other containers where sprinkler or rainwater has collected.

· Discard old tires, bottles, pots, broken appliances and other items not being used.

· Empty and clean birdbaths and pets’ water bowls at least twice a week.

· Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that do not accumulate water.

· Maintain swimming pools in good condition and chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.

Wear shoes, socks, long pants and long sleeves while outside when and where mosquitoes are most prevalent to discourage mosquitoes from biting.
Apply insect repellent that contains DEET (10-30%), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane 3,8-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535.
Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5%. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin. Some sports clothing and gear come pretreated with permethrin.
Use mosquito netting to protect children younger than 2 months old.
Check and repair screens on doors and windows. Keep them closed and use air conditioning when possible.
Make sure window screens are in good repair to reduce the chance of mosquitoes indoors.

Tick Bite Prevention

Ticks are commonly found on the tips of grasses and shrubs and climb aboard humans as they walk by. Follow these steps to help prevent tick bites.

Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, boots or sturdy shoes, and a head covering. Ticks will be more visible if clothing is light-colored.
Apply insect repellent that contains DEET (10-30%), picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane 3,8-diol, 2-undecanone or IR3535.
Treat clothing and gear with products containing 0.5% permethrin. Do not apply permethrin directly to skin. Some sports clothing and gear come pretreated with permethrin.
Walk in the center of trails so grass, shrubs, and weeds do not brush against you.
Check for and remove ticks from your clothing, body, hair, and pets when you have been outside.
Washing clothing in hot water or tumbling dry clothing in the dryer for at least 10 minutes set at high heat will kill ticks.
Shower soon after being in tick habitat.
If a tick is found on the skin it is important to safely remove the tick as soon as possible.
Talk to your veterinarian about tick prevention products for your pets.
Keep grass, shrubs and trees close to your residence trimmed.

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on preventing tick bites,

Tips on Using Repellent

· For both mosquitoes and ticks, use insect repellent approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on exposed skin and clothing. EPA’s helpful search tool can help you find the product that best suits your needs.

· Follow instructions on the product label, especially if you’re applying it to children.

· Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.

· Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children and do not use repellents with DEET on babies younger than 2 months or oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane 3,8-diol on children under 3 years old.

· Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.

· When using with sunscreen, apply sunscreen first and then repellent.

Out2News/Out2martincounty.com is your online newspaper where you are the reporter and photographer and you report the news! Do you have something to say, an event to a talk about? An event you would like us to have covered. Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Removing the Old Tamiami Trail

Florida National Guard Fulfills Essential Mission at Treasure Coast Food Bank

Food Bank Logo

Treasure Coast - Impending departure leaves need for volunteers

At a recent food distribution, a little girl approached the members of the Florida National Guard who had been handing out milk, meat and produce to families in need.

“It was close to the end of the day. She was maybe 5 or 6 years old. She walked up to us and was saying ‘Thank you. Thank you so much.’ It brought us all to tears,” said Airman Austin Smith of Jacksonville. “It was the greatest thing ever,” he said.

During the past six weeks, members of the Florida National Guard have sorted food, packed boxes of meals, and distributed milk, meat, and produce alongside Treasure Coast Food Bank’s staff in response to the coronavirus crisis. They’re just a part of more than 100 members of the Florida National Guard who have been deployed to food banks across the state. It’s a mission far different from those they’re more accustomed to, but far more rewarding, said Major Jonathan Kilpatrick.

“It’s a very different mission, but also incredibly rewarding to see the impact,” said Kilpatrick, who lives in Crawfordville outside of Tallahassee. “They are truly appreciative that we’re here.”

The members’ last day at Treasure Coast Food Bank is approaching soon. Their departure leaves a huge hole in the operation that continues to provide meals for more than 26,000 people each week. Treasure Coast Food Bank is seeking volunteers who can step in to help.

“Having the Florida National Guard here for the past six weeks has been invaluable,” said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. “They worked anywhere we asked – in our warehouse, in our production kitchen assembling thousands of nutritious meals, and preparing more than 60,000 gallons of Florida grown vegetable soup! Along with TCFB program staff they are leading our drive-through food distributions helping us triple output to the community. We’ll definitely miss them.”

“Many of our regular volunteers are seniors who need to protect their health by limiting their exposure to others, so we’re asking area businesses to consider sharing a workday here at the Food Bank, or folks who may be tired of working from home, and people who are looking for work to join us for a day or two by helping your neighbors in need,” she said.

Treasure Coast Food Bank has implemented heightened protocols for safety, including masks and gloves for volunteers, and “drive-through” only distributions to limit contact.

While many businesses have reopened and many people have returned to work, Treasure Coast Food Bank is providing food for thousands each week who continue to struggle because of the crisis. The latest unemployment figures for the Treasure Coast show that rates nearly tripled in April, with the U.S. Department of Labor reporting more than 36,000 unemployed, an average of 13.6 percent across the three counties.

People wanting to volunteer or get more information can visit https://stophunger.org/volunteer/.

“The need is there whether it directly impacts you or not,” Kilpatrick said. “Every community needs to step up and help. I personally am happy for this mission. The experience is fantastic.”

Photo credit: Jacqueline Kenny

Out2martincounty.com is your online newspaper where you are the reporter and photographer and you report the news! Do you have something to say, an event to a talk about? An event you would like us to have covered. Email your story or request to: rshall@out2martincounty.com

Photo 1

In Photo: Florida National Guardsmen assisting at a Mobile Distribution in Indian River County.

Photo 2

In Photo: Florida National Guardsman Tom King.

2020_National Guard_Major Jonathan Kilpatrick-1

In Photo: Major Jonathan Kilpatrick

2020_National Guard_Kennedi Wade

In Photo: Florida National Guardsman Kennedi Wade chopping onions in Treasure Coast Food Bank food production kitchen

2020_National Guard_Cynthia Traval

In Photo:Florida National Guardsman Cynthia Traval preparing meatloaf in Treasure Coast Food Bank's food production kitchen

2020_National Guard_Tom King

In Photo: Florida National Guard Colleen Curren loading family meal boxes at Treasure Coast Food Bank's headquarters

2020_National Guard_Sgt. Colleen Curren1

In Photo: Florida National Guard Colleen Curren loading family meal boxes at Treasure Coast Food Bank's headquarters.

Caregivers Find Little Surprises on Their Porches

Mar Communities connect
20 June Communities 1

St. Lucie West - When the going gets tough, the tough get - care packages.

This week, local foster parents, who have kept their doors open despite the fear of COVID-19, are being surprised by volunteers bearing care packages donated by individuals in the community.

It's all part of CCKids' Adopt a Foster Family initiative to thank local caregivers during National Foster Parent Appreciation Month.

Nearly 150 caregivers are receiving packages - many of them tailored to their family's interests - thanks to the generosity of individuals in the community. Each package is being hand delivered by CCKids staff who are leaving the packages on doorsteps and ringing doorbells before falling back a safe distance to thank the residents for their steadfast service to children.

"We wanted to do something special for our foster parents, because they are our essential workers," said Jill Poole, program director for licensing, post-adoption and caregiver support. "We usually host a pool party, but we knew that was off the table this year due to COVID-19."

Project organizers matched sponsors to local foster families, then coordinated pick-up and delivery of the care packages.

"They didn't have to be elaborate or expensive," Poole said. "Many of them included family games, puzzles, baking kits or gift cards."

If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent, CCKids and its contracted recruitment agencies are offering training classes via Zoom. Call 772-873-7800 and ask for Jerra Wisecup.

20 June Communities 2

SALVATION ARMY AND TOYOTA/ LEXUS DISTRIBUTE FOOD

20 June Salvation
2020 June Ketchum 2

Photos Courtesy of: MaryAnn Ketchum

In Photo:Marcus, Jeff and Sofia Savoy, Gary Mariarossi, Flo Rodriquez, Deltom Lequernaque and Scott O'Keefe

Fort Pierce – The Toyota/Lexus Minority Owners Dealership Association (TLMODA) recently partnered with The Salvation Army to distribute food boxes to families in need in the Ft. Pierce area. The drive-through distribution took place at Treasure Coast Lexus and served 200 families who had been given vouchers through the Salvation Army and Boys & Girls Clubs.

“Collaboration during times like this is so important,” said Lt. Jeff Marquis, Corps Officer for the Salvation Army. “We are so grateful to Treasure Coast Toyota & Lexus for reaching out to help provide food for these families who so desperately need it right now.”

The Salvation Army’s offices in Martin, St. Lucie and Okeechobee Counties have seen a dramatic increase in calls from people seeking food and financial assistance in the last few months. “We are doing our best to meet the demand,” said Marquis. “It’s been wonderful to see our sister agencies and the community in general come together to help fill the gaps.”

For more information about The Salvation Army and its services, call 772-288-1471 or visit salvationarmystlucie.org

About The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army annually helps more than 23 million

2020 June Ketchum 1

St. Lucie Habitat for Humanity Joins International Homes, Communities, Hope + You Campaign to Help St. Lucie County Build Back from COVID-19

20 Mar St Lucie Habitat Logo

Fort Pierce – As the world continues to grapple with the public health crisis and the economic impact of COVID-19, the importance of a place to call home has never been more pronounced.

Since 1995, St. Lucie Habitat for Humanity has supported families in St. Lucie County through many adversities. Now, in these very challenging times, St. Lucie Habitat for Humanity is ready once again to offer a hand up to families in need of safe, decent and affordable homes. Through the Homes, Communities, Hope + You campaign, Habitat for Humanity will raise funds to support more families who need access to the opportunities that an affordable home provides.

“Habitat’s goal is to create the foundation for families to achieve strength, stability and self-reliance,” said Bob Calhoun, Executive Director of St. Lucie Habitat for Humanity. “The COVID-19 pandemic has severely tested all, and some in our Habitat community have been deeply affected by the economic stresses of cut hours and workplace insecurity. Of those who have brought their concerns to us, two families have independently solved the issues and four households are working with us to maintain their mortgages and homes. So, our work has adapted and creating opportunity is two-fold. First, taking additional stewardship of the stability of current homeowners during the COVID-19 pandemic, and second, bolstering affordable housing opportunities for even more families in St. Lucie County.”
Funds raised through this campaign will go toward our Mortgage Relief Fund which helps homeowners financially impacted by COVID-19 remain current on their mortgage payment.

The Homes, Communities, Hope + You campaign is a unique opportunity for Habitat organizations all around the world to unite as a global network to galvanize communities and emerge from this crisis stronger together. The campaign will feature Habitat doing what it does best: building security and stability, building back the economy, reconnecting communities, and creating hope.

“Habitat for Humanity is needed now more than ever,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “The world was already experiencing a housing crisis long before COVID-19. The pandemic has only made our work more urgent. Our neighbors need our help to build back, and we need your support as we work toward a world where everyone has a safe, decent and affordable place to live.”

More details about Habitat’s Homes, Communities, Hope + You campaign is available at www.stluciehabitat.org.

The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast From Home Goes Mobile

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The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast has joined in the worldwide #MuseumFromHome movement. Although the Children’s Museum is temporarily closed, staff are working diligently sharing online content through digital platforms like, Instagram and Facebook. Museums throughout the world are sharing live stream videos, workshops and so much more; a great opportunity to bring Museums into family rooms across the globe.

The Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast has taken this movement one step farther, bringing educational activity kits to children receiving free meals from House of Hope, Boys and Girls Clubs of Martin and St. Lucie County and Elev8Hope. “Many of the children receiving free meals may not have access to the live streaming due to lack of internet connections or computers, that is why we feel it is important to keep our mission moving and young minds inspired throughout both counties during this time’ says Tammy Calabria.

Executive Director. Luckily local businesses and donors also feel this movement is making an impact. Home Depot of Jensen Beach & St. Lucie West, Lowes of Stuart, PNC Bank, The Arts Council of Martin, The Elliott Museum, Colab Farms, Duffy’s and Baron Graphics have provided hands-on activities to fill over 1500 bags! One of the most popular being an Indoor Starter Gardening kit complete with fresh soil, seeds and planting instructions.

There is also an online tutorial for kids to access. Last week the Museum dropped off 1200 activity bags to all the partnering locations for distribution. “Our goal is to distribute 10,000 activity bags over the next month, or longer if school closures are extended. We are still looking to businesses to donate coloring books, crayons and hands-on projects in bulk so the distribution can continue throughout this down time” says Katie Makemson, Director of Education. The Children’s Museum is thankful to those donors who have stepped up to join this mission, but there are thousands of kids desperate for some creative thinking challenges like these.

If you or your business would like to join #MuseumFromHome, feel free to contact Tammy or Katie at The Children’s Museum’s Facebook page or call 772-225-7575 ext. 203. The core of the Children’s Museums mission is to provide hands-on educational experiences that will ignite the imagination, developing problem solving techniques and fine motor skills through play. To donate visit the Museums website www.childrensmuseumtc.org.

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