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Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy students collect hundreds of pounds of food and supplies for homeless animals

By Staff | Dec 27, 2010

North Fort Myers-based Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida Inc. had many charitable and developmental highlights in 2010.
And it wasn’t all for needy residents in the area. Students of the Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy collected more than 300 pounds of pet food and pet supplies for the Animal Refuge Center in North Fort Myers, to help support homeless animals.
The students recently delivered their donation and toured the ARC Facilities.
The Goodwill L.I.F.E. Academy is a Lee County charter school for middle and high school students with developmental disabilities.
The students started collecting pet supplies and food at Thanksgiving. L.I.F.E. Academy principal Lynn Pottorf estimated that the 300-plus pounds raised this year is at least double the amount collected in 2009.
“Our students decided to do this last year because it was cold outside and they’d learned about homeless animals,” Pottorf said, adding, “Community involvement and volunteering are also part of our curriculum. They’re learning how everyone in the community works together to make things happen.
On their educational trip to ARC, the students toured the facility, interacting with staff and displaced animals.
About 20 of the students came to tour the facility last year, but excitement over the project had many more with interest in ARC animals. “This year it was at least double that, as well as double the donations. They were all so amazed by the animals,” said ARC Treasurer Betty Hughes.
“The teachers wanted to show them what their donations actually did,” said ARC Volunteer Coordinator Lisa Morris. “I think it is really nice that people can see what animals can do in return to people. I think, especially, unconditional love is the main thing.”
The donation will really help the center kick off the new year, and just not with needed food. “The students also brought toys and gauze we can use for our surgery center. The donations will help so much for the new year, it will help feed the animals, so we can put others toward improvements.

Goodwill activity
highlights from 2010
Goodwill Industries had many high points in the last year, that will better help the agency fulfill its mission.
It was a banner year for fund-raising, new programs and store openings, said Goodwill’s Director of Public Relations, Kirsten O’Donnell.
One big highlight was the number of new stores and centers opened, now bringing the total stores to 25 in the five-county area.
“We opened two new stores, on McGregor Blvd. and in East Fort Myers,” she said.
The McGregor center is a bookstore and drop-off location located at 15165 McGregor Blvd., near the McGregor Point Shopping Center.
The other location is in the Arbor Towne Square (formerly Arborgate) shopping center, at the intersection of Treeline Avenue and Colonial Boulevard, 10676 Colonial Blvd. in Fort Myers.
“We also opened a Job-Link Center in Fort Myers to help people look for jobs,” she said.
They were assisted by partners including Community Cooperative Ministries and the Literacy Council.
“The center helps people with a lot of different needs.”
To aid new business owners, a new business program was launched.
“It is a program called the Micro-Enterprise Program, to help people who want to start a new business,” she said. That program is in cooperation with the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
“And of course, our Festival of Trees holiday event was extremely successful again this year. We raised over $62,000 for the Southwest Florida Goodwill Foundation.”
More new programs are being explored.
Goodwill serves Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry, and Glades counties with programs and services for people with disabilities and other disadvantages. Revenue from sales and donations are critical to helping the organization fulfill an ever-growing need for services and fund its many missions, officials said.
To learn about all stores, donation centers and programs, go to goodwillswfl.org. or call 995-2106.