The largest back-to-school outreach program in Lee County is back for its 19th year. North Fort Myers High School will serve as the new venue for the Big Backpack Event, where thousands of kids will receive free backpacks and school supplies in a celebration of community diversity.
Admission is free, and it takes place Sunday, July 29 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the school on 5000 Orange Grove Blvd. Supplies come from community members and business sponsors who donate through the Adopt-A-Student fundraising program before the event. Each $10 donation provides a student with a new backpack, notebook paper, folders, crayons, glue, pencils and pens.
The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida hosts the popular community outreach that has provided new backpacks and school supplies to more than 35,000 students over the years. The event lends a helping hand to students and families in need while shining a light on diversity within Southwest Florida with live entertainment that borrows from cultures around the world.
“I’m grateful we can empower so many children to start the school year off right with the tools they need for success,” said Leonardo Garcia, executive director of the Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida. “Our committee, sponsors, vendors and volunteers show tremendous commitment each year to generosity and building greater cultural understanding.”
Supplies will be available to the first 2,000 children age 5-12 who come to the event accompanied by a parent or guardian. The line typically begins to form as early as 7 a.m., but it moves quickly once the doors open. Thanks to vendors, students will also receive free back-to-school eye exams, haircuts and other giveaways, while supplies last.