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Meet and greet luncheon with new Salvation Army local command

October 9, 2019
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Local agency heads, leaders and business owners met for a special luncheon on Monday, Sept. 30, at Azucar restaurant located inside Lehigh's Town Centre. The luncheon was held to welcome the Salvation Army's new Area Commander, Major Carlyle Gargis Major and wife Major Charlotte Gargis.

Chairman and Operation Officer - Chamber of Commerce Michael Welch, who organized the luncheon, said the meet-and-greet was a reminder of just how much the Salvation Army aids the community.

"It's Lehigh Acres office has a significant and positive impact on our community," Welch said.

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The meet-and-greet luncheon was held to welcome the Salvation Army’s new Area Commander Major Carlyle Gargis Major and his wife Major Charlotte Gargis.


Major Gargis and his wife spoke briefly about their past work in the private sector, running restaurants, until they felt a calling to serve God by preaching the gospel, and helping to meet human needs within the community.

"This is our first time coming to Lehigh Acres. It's great to be here and get acquainted with the area and everyone here today. This is a project that I felt was very important. We have some visions for Lehigh and our service center. Our first goal is to establish a local leadership by creating a Service Unit Advisory Council, which will be made up of local leaders and individuals who have a heart for the community and mission of the Salvation Army," Gargis said.

The Lehigh Acres Salvation Army service center opened about four years ago and remains one of the busiest offices in the area.

"The commander's predecessors realized just how many people were coming out to Lehigh and some did not have transportation. They saw a great need to establish a local office," explained Welch.

According to Gargis, this is a busy time of the year for the Salvation Army.

"We are now ready to start taking applications for Christmas assistance for local families. Those interested can come in to the service center and see Major Brenda Lane," said Gargis.

According to Lane, the Lehigh center is experiencing a number of calls for rent assistance.

"As you know the rents are very high out here in Lehigh Acres and many people just can't afford a place to live," said Lane.

The local service center is open throughout the week and takes applications and assists residents who are lower income or may be facing a difficult time. They also offer an emergency on-the-spot food pantry.

"A lot of folks who come in have lower paying jobs, and they just can't afford to cover their basic needs, including rent, electricity and food. These are the people who sometimes fall through the cracks. We want to be there to help them when there is no other resource," Gargis stressed.

The Salvation Army applies other principles to their community outreach, which is coupled with gentle counsel.

"We not only try to work to provide services to the community, but add a pastoral aspect to our work with each individual/family. Sometimes the people we see feel they have failed their family or children. We work to try to restore their dignity. Let them know that they do matter and teach them about the love of Christ," Gargis said.

Gargis shared that another beautiful side to work they do is seeing how many former recipients end up giving back to the community.

"It's amazing how many people come to us for help and then end up coming back to offer their assistance to help others who are in need." Gargis said.

The Salvation Army's Lehigh Acres service center is located at 25 Homestead Road, N., #42A, Lehigh Acres. Phone: 239-491-6071

For more information on the Salvation Army, visit



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