By Carolyn Peplow
The holidays are quickly approaching and Lehigh Community Services is expecting a busy, fun and exciting season.
Lehigh Community Services in partnership with New Life Assembly of God, Christ United Methodist Church, Lehigh Acres Save-A-Lot, Moose Lodge 2266 and Lehigh Regional Medical Center is preparing for our annual Thanksgiving food distribution. Each year we help community members with non-perishable items to prepare the holiday meal and include either a local grocery gift card or turkey for each family. Registration for this event is required; register daily Monday – Friday from 9-11am or 1-4 pm until November 13th at Lehigh Community Services, 201 Plaza Dr., Ste. 3. For information please call (239) 369-5818. The community can help in this effort with donations of shelf-stable food items used to prepare a holiday meal, gift cards or turkeys. Each year this group of partners distributes food to 400-500 families in Lehigh Acres. Thanksgiving Meal for the community, Lehigh Acres Rotary club serves the full Thanksgiving meal on Thanksgiving Day from 11am to 2pm at St. Raphael Catholic Church, 2514 Lee Blvd. Salvation Army also provides a community Thanksgiving Dinner at their 2400 Edison Ave location in Fort Myers from 11am to 1pm on Thanks giving Day.
The 3rd annual Santa’s Surprises for Seniors promises to be an exciting event for Lehigh Acres and our seniors; in partnership with the Lehigh Acres Senior Center, Presbyterian Homes, Salvation Army and Coldwell Banker Preferred Properties the event will be even bigger in 2019 with fun, refreshments, contests, giveaways and entertainment. This event requires pre-registration. For more details call our office at (239) 369-5818. Registration will begin on November 25th and the event will be held in December at the Lehigh Acres Senior Center. Also remember that a community Christmas meal will be served by the Rotary Club, Christmas Day from 11am to 2pm at St. Raphael Catholic Church, 2514 Lee Blvd.
As the year progresses we are on track to serve more families than ever with a variety of services; food pantry, utility assistance, Literacy classes, income tax preparation, group support programs and online food stamp applications, just to name a few of the services provided in Lehigh Acres. As the community continues to grow and is recognized as one of the fastest growing areas in the United States the need for local social service programs increase along with all the other changes that are apparent to everyone whom lives in the area.
Tax season will begin at the end of January, and appointments will be scheduled for individuals to file their taxes for FREE if the household income is less than $66,000 per year. The VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program will offer evening and Saturday appointments at Lehigh Community Services spread the word to those you know who can use this service, it is estimated that a family can save around $250 in tax preparation fees with this free service provided by IRS certified volunteers. If you are interested in volunteering during tax season there is a need for tax preparers, front desk greeters and translators, contact Mary Meador at (239) 433-7567. Save the date for the two annual Lehigh Community Services fundraisers; Lobster Fest, February 22, 2020 and the annual Golf Scramble, May 2, 2020.
Another awesome community resource is the United Way 211 referral service: helping individuals connect to local community resources throughout Lee County. (239) 433-3900
We would like to thank all our generous donors that support the efforts of Lehigh Community Services throughout the year. At this time we would like to thank several local churches that help make sure we can feed those in need and provide other services with donations throughout the year; Christ United Methodist Church, Church of the Latter Day Saints, Faith Lutheran Church, First Christian Church DOC, First Presbyterian Church, Lee Boulevard Baptist Church, Richmond Avenue Baptist Church, New Life Assembly of God, St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church and Victory Christian Church. Everyone’s donations, time and efforts make a difference for our nonprofit, for our clients and for our community.
With warmest wishes for a joy-filled holiday season. LCS is a 501c3 organization, operating in our 41st year. We proudly serve as the United Way House for Lehigh Acres and strive to be the best we can be by honoring our mission: Provide emergency services to residents of the community while promoting self-sufficiency.