Big Backpack Event returns for 20th year of giving

April 22, 2019 CONRIC PR

You can’t build success without tools. The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida will continue its tradition of providing a hand up to Lee County children in need at its 20th Annual Big Backpack Event on Sunday, July 28 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Families with students between ages 5-12 can come to the event’s new location at the Fort Myers Skatium on 2250 Broadway to receive backpacks full of school supplies.

“Our mission is to promote and embrace diversity in the community and to help Lee County schoolchildren of all cultures start the new school year with confidence and pride,” said Leonardo Garcia, executive director of the Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida. “We’re so grateful to the Skatium and everyone who’s made it possible for us to perform a service that’s vital for the future of so many area children.”

The organization’s goal is to collect enough supplies through its Adopt-A-Student program to hand out more than 2,000 backpacks. A $10 Adopt-A-Student donation provides a child with a new backpack and school supplies that include notebook paper, folders, crayons, glue, pens and pencils. Information on how to give is available at or by emailing

Demand usually exceeds supply, so parents and guardians are urged to get to the Skatium early. The line usually begins to form as early as 7 a.m. but moves quickly once the doors open. Children must be present with parents or guardians to receive the free supplies.

In 2018, more than 10,000 people were in attendance, over 2,000 children received backpacks and school supplies, and about 50 vendors participated by providing free eye exams, haircuts, face painting, balloons and youth entertainment. The event has grown into one of Lee County’s biggest back-to-school outreach programs.

“We’ve touched so many lives over 20 years. This is a magnificent reminder of the great heights we as a community can reach when we extend a giving hand,” Garcia said. “Our committee, sponsors, vendors and volunteers are genuinely dedicated to empowering our children and helping them start the new school year the right way.”

For more information on Adopt-A-Student, vendor, volunteer or business sponsorship opportunities, visit or email

Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida

The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida is a private 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit established in Fort Myers to promote programs aimed at bringing people of different cultures together. The organization aims to culturally link Southwest Florida with other communities around the world. For more information, visit

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