It will be a Merry Christmas indeed for 160 students attending early learning programs at Child Care of Southwest Florida.
A unique partnership between the nonprofit education provider and the Lee County Sheriff’s Office led to deputies playing the role of Santa in delivering presents just before the holidays.
“We primarily serve children from lower-income households, and this year, so many parents are struggling just to pay for housing, food and utilities,” said Chris Hansen, CEO of Child Care of Southwest Florida. “No parent should ever have to choose between buying their child a Christmas gift or paying the electric bill. Thankfully, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office stepped forward to make sure students will have a present to unwrap.”
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office collects donations of toys from local businesses and community partners across the region. On Dec. 10, law enforcement officers made a special visit to The Children’s Community Center in Lehigh Acres, where they gathered as 20 students unwrapped early Christmas gifts. Additional presents will be provided to other students attending The Children’s Community Center, as well as some of their siblings.
Presents include age-appropriate gifts like learning toys, building blocks, dolls, puzzles, stuffed animals, remote control cars and board games.
“Community engagement has always been important to me,” stated Sheriff Carmine Marceno. “We’re involved in numerous events and donate to various charities throughout the year, and this is one of many community events that we are proud to participate in.”
In addition to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Child Care of Southwest Florida relies on the generosity of valued partners and sponsors to support the nonprofit’s mission of strengthening and enhancing the lives of children and their families. Child Care of Southwest Florida is accredited through the National Accreditation Commission for Early Learning Leaders and enrolls children ages 6 weeks through 8 years old.