Monthly Archives: August 2021

 FDACS announced guidelines for free and reduced-price School Meal Programs


FDACS announced guidelines for free and

reduced-price School Meal Programs


Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Division of Food, Nutrition and Wellness announced household size and income guidelines for free and reduced-price meals and free milk under the National School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Special Milk Programs. Children from households that meet the federal guidelines on household size and income are eligible for free or reduced-price meals or free milk.

“Ensuring that all children in Florida have access to fresh, healthy foods remains one of my top priorities,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “I’m proud that our partnership with USDA serves free and reduced-price school meals to nearly three million children in Florida, providing dependable nutrition that helps students stay focused and succeed academically.”

The following household size and income criteria will be used for determining eligibility:




*For the 48 contiguous United States, District of Columbia, Guam and territories

Application forms are being provided to all homes with a letter to parents or guardians. To apply for free or reduced-price benefits, households must complete the application as soon as possible, sign it, and return it to the school. One application should be submitted for all the students enrolled in the school food authority. Households should answer all applicable questions on the form. An application that does not contain all the required information cannot be processed and approved by the school. The required information is:

SNAP/TANF HOUSEHOLDS: If a household currently receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or "Temporary Assistance for Needy Families" (TANF) for any child or other household member, they need only to list the child's name and SNAP or TANF case number and sign the application.

ALL OTHER HOUSEHOLDS: If a household's income is at or below the level shown on the income scale, children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals or free milk. Households must provide the following information: (1) the names of all household members, (2) all household income last month and source of income received by each household member (for example, EARNINGS, WELFARE, PENSION, or OTHER). Income is all money before taxes or anything else is taken out, (3) the signature of an adult household member, and (4) the last four numbers of the Social Security number of the adult signing the application.

The information on the application for free or reduced-price meals may be verified by the school or other officials at any time during the school year.

The information households provide will be treated confidentially and will be used only for the eligibility determinations and verification of data.

Households may apply for benefits at any time during the school year. If a household is not eligible now, but has a decrease in household income, an increase in household size, or a household member becomes unemployed, an application should be filled out at that time.

Foster children are eligible for free meal or milk benefits regardless of the household income. If a household has foster children living with them and they wish to apply for meals or milk benefits for them, they should contact the school for help with the application.

Children enrolled in the Head Start/Even Start Program or the Migrant Education Program or who are considered homeless or runaway by the school district’s homeless liaison should contact the school for assistance in receiving benefits.

Treasure Coast Business is a news service and magazine published in print, via e-newsletter and online at by Indian River Magazine Inc. For more information or to report news email [email protected]

Aug. 6, 2021|

Education Foundation partners with St Lucie Schools to introduce structured play to Kindergarten classes

Education Foundation partners with St Lucie Schools to introduce structured play to Kindergarten classes
Aug. 6, 2021|

Amazon announces first fulfillment center in St. Lucie County

Amazon announces first fulfillment center in St. Lucie County
Aug. 6, 2021|

New Leadership Team in Place at Hobe Sound Early Learning Center

New leadership team at

Hobe Sound Early Learning Center

New Leadership Team in Place at Hobe Sound Early Learning Center

Hobe Sound Early Learning Center (HSELC), has announced the members of a new leadership team that will direct the expansion of the school’s educational program.

Thomas (Tom) Weber, CEO, has had a connection and love for Martin County since he graduated from Florida Institute of Technology (located where Mansion at Tuckahoe now stands) with a degree in electronics in 1979.

Weber held executive positions in banking and commercial real estate before starting his own businesses in investments and technology.

He’s a long-time member of nonprofit boards, especially those benefitting children and families.  He has chaired both the Education Foundation and Children Services Council of Palm Beach County.

Weber says, “This is a cumulation of a dream come true. I’m able to focus 100-percent of my time overseeing the growth, learning and success of children in Hobe Sound and Martin County.  Every day I get to come in to see my 150 new clients. all of whom are about 3 feet tall.  I enjoy seeing their activity and growth and the passion of their teachers.”

Weber’s broad business experience will lead the HSELC into the next era and Center Director Mary King will dedicate her talents to faculty and program needs.

Patricia (Patty) Phillips is Executive Assistant to Weber and brings a great personal attachment to HSELC: her two grown children – now aged 28 and 30 - both were students at the Center.

Phillips attended Broward College in Ft. Lauderdale and has lived in Hobe Sound and Martin County for 36 years. With more than 30 years in the hospitality industry, she most recently has been employed in the nonprofit world, working to provide a positive impact in the community and improve the lives of others.

Previously, Phillips served as a Board Member of HSELC for several years.

Weber and Phillips will head up Phase 2 of the Center’s expansion to increase enrollment capacity to 200, provide infant care, and accelerate programs, with the support of the staff and by board members.

Aug. 2, 2021|

Piper Aircraft expands brand ambassador program

Piper Aircraft expands brand ambassador program

Piper Aircraft is proud to announce Paige Bishop as the newest social media brand ambassador

Piper Aircraft and the team at Purdue University recruited and selected the new ambassador. The selection was based on the individual’s enthusiasm, versatility and passion. Purdue University sophomore, Paige Bishop, will be the first Ambassador from the school and will join a team of five ambassadors from other collegiate flight programs throughout the United States. She will have the opportunity to speak about the aerospace program and campus life experience, as well as share her personal training journey story using social media channels like Instagram. Most importantly, she will be able to provide a glimpse into the exciting life of a pilot and will help inspire future aviators.

“Paige Bishop is a passionate aviator and has been a strong supporter and advocate of our industry. Not only does her family own a PA-28, she worked with her local EAA chapter on the restoration of a Piper Cub as part of her senior project for high school. She is the perfect ambassador to talk about the Purdue University aviation program as well as Piper products and the important role they play in training the next generation of pilots,” said Jackie Carlon, Senior Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications.

Aug. 2, 2021|

Seagrass restoration coming to Fort Pierce

Seagrass restoration coming to Fort Pierce

Seagrass restoration coming to Fort Pierce

The Manatee Observation and Education Center (MOEC) and Treasure Coast Manatee Foundation (TCMF) have launched a fundraising campaign to bring seagrass restoration to Moore’s Creek in Spring 2022. The restoration project will be led by Sea & Shoreline, a Florida-based restoration company, and installed in Moore’s Creek across from the MOEC manatee mural, at 480 N Indian River Drive, Fort Pierce, FL.

The Florida manatee population is in peril. A record-breaking 866 manatees were found deceased so far in 2021, many sick or starving from lack of natural food sources in the Indian River Lagoon. Manatees eat as much as 120 pounds, or 10% of their body weight, in aquatic vegetation every single day.

The seagrass restoration project will be monitored for three years following installation in Spring 2022. Funds raised will also support sending environmental educators into the community to teach about this important project. If the fundraiser reaches $3,000 by August 13th, the Foundation will become eligible for select grants through the Gannett Foundation’s A Community Thrives program. Donations to support this important project should be directed to

Aug. 2, 2021|

Call to artists for anniversary museum exhibition

The A.E. Backus Museum & Gallery’s annual juried art exhibition, The Best of the Best, is
accepting artist applications by advance appointments on Wednesdays–Sundays until 3:00 pm,
beginning on Wednesday, September 8 through Friday, October 1, 2021.

The application is open to amateur and professional artists with a $30 entry fee per work. A full prospectus with
guidelines and application form is available to download from the Museum’s website or it can be picked up starting September 8 at the Museum located at 500 North Indian River Drive in Historic Downtown Fort Pierce, Florida.

Artists may enter their work in The Best of the Best by submitting into one of four media
categories: Oil and Acrylic paintings; Watercolor (including gouache and tempera); Varied
Techniques (which includes mixed media, pastel, pencil, pen & ink, printmaking, graphics,
collage and computer-generated works); and Three-Dimensional. Accepted works of art will
contend for cash prizes and placement honors (1st-2nd-3rd awards) in each category, with an
overall Best of Show award. A full description of all categories along with presentation checklist
is available in the prospectus.

There are new entry procedures related to the ongoing public health situation. Artists are
required to sign up online for an entry appointment in advance. Each 15-minute entry
appointment will accommodate one artist entering up to three (3) works of art; artists wishing
to enter more than three works may sign up for additional entry appointments. Artists can
access the online appointment schedule with all entry information at

This year marks the 40th juried exhibition hosted by the Backus Museum. First presented as the
“Four County Juried Exhibition,” today The Best of the Best has extended its participation
over the years to artists throughout Florida and even beyond.

The Best of the Best annual juried exhibition will open the 2021-22 Season of the A.E. Backus
Museum & Gallery, and will debut with a season open house and free admission October 16-17,
continuing on view regular hours through November 12, 2021. The Museum is planning for an
opening reception on Friday, October 15, but this is subject to change due to ongoing concerns
about the pandemic and public safety. The Museum will announce accepted works and awards
on October 14 by 5:00 pm

Aug. 2, 2021|

Rey Navarro Named Chief Operating Officer of Hibiscus Children’s Center

Hibiscus Children’s Center announced that Rey Navarro has been named the organization’s Chief Operating Officer. Rey will replace Caroline Vinyard, who has taken the position of CEO of the Baron Child Advocacy Center in St. Lucie County.  Caroline has been a vital part of the leadership of the organization since 2015 and we wish her all the best in her new endeavor.

Rey brings nearly two decades of experience working with at risk youth, including the last four years as Director of Operations at the Hibiscus Village in Vero Beach.  The Village provides safe haven to youth, ages 13-17 years, removed from their homes along with educational, mental health and career planning services.  Prior to Rey’s work at the Village, he was a therapist for six years in the Hibiscus Community Mental Health Program. He is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work as well as an MSW.  Rey also holds a Master’s Degree in Education Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix.

Matt Markley, Hibiscus CEO, shared, “I am excited for the opportunity to work with Rey more closely. His considerable experience, vision and energy will serve Hibiscus well. Rey exemplified great leadership of the Village Operations and his compassion and commitment to our youth and staff was evident in his daily interactions. We are thrilled to have Rey as our new Chief Operating Officer and look forward to continuing to move the organization forward as a leader in child welfare.”

Aug. 2, 2021|

United Way Delivers Education Grants to 15 Organizations

United Way Delivers Education

Grants to 15 Organizations

The United Way of Indian River County (UWIRC) this week announced $788,112 in funding community programs. Fifteen agencies have received funding in the Education impact area. The awards run from July 2021 through June 2023 in a two-year cycle.

Funds for community partners are raised during United Way of Indian River County’s annual campaign to support three impact areas: health, education, and financial stability. Each grant is awards based on the annual campaign total, goals of UWIRC, and the needs of the community.

UWIRC’s 2021-2023 community goals include:

  1. To increase to 85% the children who enter Kindergarten ready to succeed
  2. To increase to 90% of 3rd Graders who are performing on grade Level and increase their positive behaviors
  3. To increase to 90% the students who graduate on time from High School

 To be considered for funding, community partners must submit an application, report measurable outcomes quarterly, and focus on particular communities or neighborhoods with the most need.

All agencies made presentations via Zoom during the Citizens Review Process, where volunteer funding panels make recommendations to the UWIRC Board of Directors based on how well the agencies addressed United Way’s funding priorities.

“We have a great group of dedicated volunteers who take their responsibilities very seriously. They review a significant amount of due diligence information to help them understand where the biggest health, education, and financial stability needs are in our community,” said Nate Bruckner, Director of Community Impact. “At the end of the day, it is our volunteers and donors that decide how dollars are divided and who gets funded.”

In total, nearly $1.9 million dollars was allocated to 36 local nonprofits for the 2021-2022 year. Last year’s funding was aimed toward programs with a focus on financial stability and health. In April 2022, nonprofits will have the opportunity to apply for funding in the financial stability and health impact area.

Education Funded Partner Agencies

Big Brothers Big Sisters of IRC

Boys & Girls Club of IRC

Childcare Resources of Indian River

Children's Home Society of Treasure Coast

Crossover Mission

Early Learning Coalition of Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties

Economic Opportunities Council

Education Foundation of Indian River County

Environmental Learning Center

Gifford Youth Achievement Center

Hibiscus Children's Center

IRC Healthy Start Coalition

Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA)

The Learning Alliance

Youth Guidance Mentoring Academy

Aug. 2, 2021|