17th annual Big Backpack Event


10:00 am - 2:00 pm


Harborside Event Center
1375 Monroe Street , Fort Myers, FL, 33901
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As the school year winds down for Southwest Florida students, it’s time to save the date for the 17th Annual Big Backpack Event, presented from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 31 at Harborside Event Center by the Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida. Every year thousands of kids receive free backpacks and school supplies while celebrating diversity in our community.

Admission is free to this festival event, which has become the largest back-to-school outreach program in Lee County. In advance of the Big Backpack Event, community members are invited to participate in the Adopt-A-Student fundraiser. Each $10 donation provides a student with a new backpack and school supplies that include notebook paper, folders, crayons, glue, pencils and pens.


For the past 16 years the Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida has been hosting this popular community outreach event that to date has provided new backpacks and school supplies to more than 37,000 students. The event lends a helping hand to students and families in need, while celebrating the diversity in Southwest Florida with live multicultural entertainment on the main stage including hip hop, Irish step dance, salsa and more.


The first 2,000 or more children age 5-12 will receive free backpacks and school supplies or while supplies last. Children must be present with a parent or guardian to receive free supplies. The line typically begins to form around the Harborside Event Center as early as 7 a.m., but moves quickly once the doors open.


Families will enjoy other event festivities such as face painting, inflatable slide and bounce house, clowns, and live entertainment. Thanks to sponsors and vendors, students may also receive eye exams, haircuts, and other giveaways at the event while supplies last.


Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida Executive Director Leonardo Garcia said, “It’s the support of event sponsors large and small that make this event a success each year.” He continues, “Success is measured with each one of the thousands of multicultural students and families we support each year by lessening the financial burden placed on them with the rising cost of back-to-school needs. I am amazed every year by the generosity of the community, and the gratitude of the families we serve.”


For more information on Adopt-A-Student, vendor, volunteer or business sponsorship opportunities, visit www.multiculturalcentre.org.


Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida

The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida is a private 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 culturally linking Southwest Florida with other communities around the world. For more information visit www.multiculturalcentre.org.