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The Heights Foundation

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Donations Needed for “Operation Christmas Care” for Area Children

Fort Myers, FL, November 29, 2015 --( The Heights Center and Gladiolus Learning and Development Center 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 12 at “Operation Christmas Care” where each child will visit Santa, have cookies with hot chocolate and make Christmas crafts, while their parents choose gifts for their children, keeping the surprise in Christmas for our kids.

"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 or Gladiolus Learning and Development Center located at 10320 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers. Toys will be collected through Friday, December 11.

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

Organizations and individuals interested in participating can contact Jody Callahan at (239) 482-7706 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 Foundation works to build self-sufficient families in the Harlem Heights neighborhood. The mission is to support education and wellness, promote family and community development, and provide the benefits of enrichment and the arts. The Heights Center, supported by The Heights Foundation, is a place for Education, Opportunity, and Enrichment.

Harlem Heights was originally settled as a rural agricultural community. Approximately 780 children live in a mixture of single-family homes and multi-family apartments. Demographically, the population is approximately 70% Hispanic, 20% African-American, and 8% 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.

About Gladiolus Learning and Development Center
For more than 39 years, Gladiolus Learning and Development Center (formerly 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, Gladiolus Learning and Development Center 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.
Contact Information
The Heights Foundation
Elly Hagen

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