The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida’s BIG Backpack Event set to distribute free backpacks and school supplies to a record 2,500 students

Leonardo Garcia, founder of The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida, is pleased to announce that the organization’s 15th Annual Big Backpack Event, held this Sunday, July 27th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., will serve a record number of students. 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,” says Leonardo Garcia. “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. on Sunday, July 27 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 fifty 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 our 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 Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida wants 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.

Connie Ramos-Williams, who has served as a volunteer and an event organizer for The Big Backpack Event for the past 14-years, states, “Although employment numbers are down from last year, an estimated 80% of students enrolled in Lee County public schools qualify for free or reduced lunches.” She explains, “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.

For more information on how to become an event sponsor, adopt a student, vendor or volunteer, please email or visit

Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida
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
This article was submitted by a Guest Author of the Above Board Chamber.