The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida will host the 15th Annual Big Backpack Event this Sunday, July 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Celebrating 15 years and 30,000 smiles in 2014, the committee is gearing up for their biggest giveaway ever. The first 2,500 students ages 5-12 will receive free backpacks and school supplies thanks to dedicated sponsors, event committee members and volunteers.
"It is the dedicated support of our event committee and sponsors that make it possible for us to celebrate our 15th year serving students in need," said Leonardo Garcia, founder of The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida. "In our first year we served 100 students, then 500, 1,000 and 2,000+ in consecutive years, but this year for our 15th anniversary, we are proud to serve a record 2,500 students in need."
The Big Backpack Event is free to the community and will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Harborside Event Center in downtown Fort Myers. Guests will enjoy live multicultural youth entertainment on the main stage, including hip-hop, salsa and Irish step dance. There will be inflatable bounce houses and slides, face painting, a book mobile, haircuts and fingerprinting.
More than 50 vendors will offer other giveaways, games and items for sale, including uniforms, pens, pencils, educational products, healthcare, books and more.
The Big Backpack Event is hosted every year by the Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida to celebrate diversity in the community while supporting students and families in need. School supplies and backpacks can add up to big money that families simply do not have. The centre strives to make sure every student, regardless of income or race, has a new backpack and school supplies, and can start the first day of school with a smile, confidence and pride.
If you go
Who:?The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida
What: 15th Annual Big Backpack Event
When: Sunday, July 27, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Harborside Event Center, downtown Fort Myers
Information: Visit www.multiculturalcentre.org
Connie Ramos-Williams, who has served as a volunteer and an event organizer for The Big Backpack Event for the past 14 years, said, "Although employment numbers are down from last year, an estimated 80 percent of students enrolled in Lee County public schools qualify for free or reduced lunches."
She went on to say, "This means the majority of families in our community qualify for assistance, and The BIG Backpack Event can provide these families with the assistance they need this time of year."
The emcees this year include Patrick Nolan, Fox 4 News; Jackie Figueroa, ACCION HISPANA Telemundo; Lorena Placencia, Mundo Fox (Wink-TV); Mayela Rosales, Univision/Azteca America. Event sponsors include Cricket, BB&T, Jason's Deli, City of Fort Myers, Lee County Public Schools, Harborside Event Center, Hispanic American Business Alliance (HABA), CONRIC PR & Marketing, Fuller Online Solutions, The News-Press Media Group, Family News, Mundo Fox, Beasley Broadcast Group, CTN 10, Accion Hispana, Univision, D'Latinos, Azteca, Exitos, Imagen Semanel, Telemundo.
The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida is a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization established in Fort Myers with the purpose of promoting programs aimed at bringing people of different cultures together and of culturally linking Southwest Florida with other communities around the world. For more information visit www.multiculturalcentre.org.