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Holiday drives taking place to benefit youth, elderly in Lehigh

November 22, 2017
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

With the holiday season so close, a few local agencies and organizations are spearheading donation drives in an effort to collect holiday gifts for those less fortunate.

The Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District is presently taking toy donations for children and gifts for senior citizens. The items will be handed over to Lehigh Community Services for distribution.

Those who would like to donate can bring new unwrapped gifts to Fire Station 105, at 636 Thomas Sherwin Ave. S. The donations hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Those looking to bring a smile to local children's faces can also drop off toys at donation boxes set up by the group Pay It Forward Lehigh Acres. The donations will be handed out during the 3rd annual PIFLA toy distribution, held in partnership with MEOW Mothers Empowering Other Women Inc.

"We are happy to be holding the toy drive again this year with MEOW," PIFLA organizer Tracy LaVallee said. "Kim Jacobs (of MEOW) is so great to work with."

According to LaVallee, local businesses are rallying around the groups' efforts to make this year's drive a success.

Fact Box

Donation box sites

- Access Real Estate Inc., 322 Gunnery Road S.

- Pool Keepers Plus Inc., 25 Homestead Road N.

- Eurex Shutters, 5601 8th St. W.

- Pelican's SnoBalls, 601 Williams Ave.

- Fantasy World Academy, 5513 8th St. W.

- Joe's Cafe, 43 Homestead Road N.

- LCSO East District substation, 1301 Homestead Road N.


3rd annual PIFLA toy distribution

- Dec. 14 from 5 to 8 p.m.

- Dec. 15 from noon to 3 p.m.

- Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"We are lucky to work with some great businesses. They always come through for us each year," she said. "Pelican's (SnoBalls), which is only in its first year, has been great. They helped the victims of the fires and are always looking for ways to help the community."

PIFLA's toy distribution is only open to Lehigh residents and children under 18. Parent or guardian ID, proof of residency like a utility bill, and the child's birth certificate or guardianship paper is required.

The toys will be given out Dec. 14 from 5 to 8 p.m., Dec. 15 from noon to 3 p.m. and Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lee County Sheriff's Office East District substation, at 1301 Homestead Road N.

There are no advance signups needed; simply show up with the required documents.

The PIFLA's toy distribution is not open to people currently getting assistance from another organization for the holidays; those found on another agency's list will be asked to leave.

The event is only open to parents and guardians; children will not be permitted.

LaVallee noted that PIFLA will hold a separate gift drive for a children's holiday shop.

"A lot of families are still recovering from Hurricane Irma, so we wanted to provide a way for kids to get gifts for their loved ones," she said. "During the holiday shop, kids can come in and shop for free. They can pick out five items to give as gifts to those in their family."

The holiday shop will take place on Dec. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. and Dec. 22 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Lehigh Acres Church of the Nazarene located at 210 Lee Blvd.

"We will also have volunteers on hand to help the kids wrap their presents," LaVallee said.

To donate to the children's holiday shop, stop by the church from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or contact PIFLA through its Facebook page at to arrange for a donation pick up.

LaVallee suggested that people donate clean non-broken toys and random knick-knacks that can be found around the house for those perfect gifts for mothers, fathers, grandmothers or grandfathers.

For information on the fire district's drive, call 239-303-5300.

For information on the toy drive and distribution, visit the PIFLA Facebook page.



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