How does painting a rain barrel help struggling Lehigh Acres’ seniors pay their water utility bills? Find out in the 3rd annual Lehigh Acres Rain Barrel Painting Contest

The Florida Governmental Utility Authority (FGUA), Lehigh Community Services, and Lehigh Acres Senior Center are excited to announce the 3rd Annual Lehigh Acres Rain Barrel Painting Contest! The purpose of the program is to promote water conservation while simultaneously providing art therapy to senior citizens within the community. But this program doesn’t stop there…money raised during this contest is then used to help struggling Lehigh Acres seniors pay their water utility bills. It’s a win, win, win!

The theme of this year’s contest is “Save Water Today for a Greener Tomorrow.”

“What makes this contest so special is its Lehigh Acres seniors helping other Lehigh Acres seniors who are struggling to pay their water bills,” said Melissa Barry, Executive Director of the Lehigh Acres Senior Center. 

The contest begins on April 22, 2024 – which coincides with Earth Day. The barrels will be painted April 22-25 and the winners of the contest will be announced at a luncheon on April 25 at the Lehigh Acres Senior Center. Cash prizes will be awarded to the Top 3 winners! Once the contest concludes, the painted rain barrels will be auctioned off with all proceeds raised going towards assisting seniors who are struggling with their water utility bills through a program administered by Lehigh Community Services.  

“Last year we raised $3,800 between sponsorships and auction proceeds,” said Donna Lizotte, Community Service Representative for FGUA. “That money was given to Lehigh Community Services who identified and helped seniors who were struggling to pay their monthly water bills. Our goal is to raise $5,000 this year.”

There are 20 rain barrels available for this year’s contest. Once the artists have completed painting their barrels, and the judging has been finished, the barrels will be on display at Lehigh Acres Senior Center. The barrels will also be available for viewing online at This auction website allows anyone to see these works of art and bid on them to purchase. Bidding will take place April 29 – May 3 at

Before the painting can commence, each barrel will be cleaned, sanded, and primed, which can be a difficult and time-consuming process. “We are thrilled to have the East Lee Leadership Academy, Jr. ROTC cadets donate their time to the program by helping to prep the rain barrels ahead of the contest. Rain barrel prep will take place on Saturday, April 13,” said Lizotte.

Local seniors wishing to participate in the program or businesses who would like to be a sponsor can contact: Donna Lizotte, Community Service Representative on behalf of the FGUA office: (239) 368-1615, Ext. 1211 or email

Signup sheets are also available at the Lehigh Acres Senior Center. Registration for the event must be completed by April 13th, but may be extended. 

The number of barrels is limited to 20 this year, and artists may work alone or in teams. Rain barrels will be provided to everyone, and art supplies will be available to those participants who paint their barrels at the Senior Center. Sponsorship opportunities are still available to local businesses who would like to support the program.

“We are immensely grateful to our sponsors of this contest, including Coca Cola, who donated the barrels and the conversion kits; Sherwin Williams, who donated the paint, and US Water, who donated the prize money,” said Lizotte.

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