Donations Needed to Bring Holiday Joy to Area Children

Fort Myers, FL, November 28, 2013 --( The Heights Center, Brightest Horizons Child Development Center and the Kiwanis Club of Fort Myers Gateway to the Islands are seeking organizations and individuals to participate in the annual Harlem Heights Community Gift Drive. Local residents, businesses and philanthropic groups are asked to donate new, unwrapped gifts for local children. Gifts are needed for more than 800 children, ranging in age from 3 to 15 years of age.

Suggested donations include Legos, dolls, art sets, footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, remote control cars, tea sets, action figures, board games, coloring books and crayons. Personal items are also needed including pajamas, jewelry, body lotion, spray, soaps, hair accessories and wristwatches. Donations of gift cards from Target, Kmart or WalMart are also appreciated. Monetary donations can be made at

The gifts will be distributed on Saturday, December 14 at the “Harlem Heights Winter Wonderland” where each child will have the opportunity to choose a toy, meet Santa and enjoy holiday refreshments.

"This holiday season will again be challenging for many families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood,” said Kathryn Kelly, President and CEO of the Heights Foundation. "This is a great opportunity to bring joy to the children of our community. We are thankful for the generous support of our neighbors."

Items can be dropped off at The Heights Center, 15570 Hagie Drive, Brightest Horizons located at 10320 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers or Spada Salon and Day Spa, 13161 McGregor Boulevard in Fort Myers. Toys will be collected through Friday, December 13.

Volunteers are also needed to assist with event set up and at the event.

Organizations and individuals interested in participating can contact Matt Wallace at (239) 482-7706 x.3040 or All donations are tax deductible. Monetary donations can be made on the web at

About the Heights Foundation and the Heights Center

The Heights Center, supported by the Heights Foundation, is a place for Education, Opportunity, and Enrichment. We work to build strong, self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood. As a 501(c)3 grassroots organization, the Center’s mission is to promote family and community development, support education, health and wellness, and provide the benefits of enrichment, expressive and cultural arts.

Harlem Heights was originally settled as a rural agricultural community. Approximately 1,200 children live in a mixture of single-family homes and multi-family apartments. Demographically, the population is approximately 55% Hispanic, 36% African-American, and 9% Caucasian. The poverty rate for children in Harlem Heights is more than twice the county average, with family income 40% below the county average. Families are not able to easily access family support services located in downtown Fort Myers, and benefit greatly from programs located within the neighborhood. For more information visit or call (239) 482-7706.

About Brightest Horizons Child Development Center

For more than 38 years, Brightest Horizons has been serving children of low-income working families in the Greater Harlem Heights area of Fort Myers, Florida. A state-licensed, not-for-profit United Way organization providing educational programs for 163 children from four weeks to 12 years of age, Brightest Horizons is nationally accredited through APPLE and has been awarded the Gold Seal of Excellence by the State of Florida. For more information call (239) 481-2100.
The Heights Foundation
Elly Hagen