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Multicultural Centre of SWFL serves thousands in annual BIG Backpack event

By Staff | Aug 4, 2021
Event founder Leonardo Garcia and event chair Connie Ramos-Williams with City of Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson at the 22nd Annual BIG Backpack Event at the Fort Myers Skatium. PHOTO PROVIDED
Jackie Holliday, a third grade teacher at Lehigh Elementary, came out to volunteer to pack and distribute backpacks and groceries during the 22nd Annual BIG Backapck Event. PHOTO PROVIDED
Volunteers Jordan Renaud of Estero High and Alex Greenberg of Canterbury helped to carry backpacks filled with school supplies to the curbside distribution area. PHOTO PROVIDED
Destiny and Faith Turner of North Fort Myers were the first children to receive new backpacks and school supplies at the 22nd Annual BIG Backpack Event. PHOTO PROVIDED

The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida’s 22nd Annual BIG Backpack Event was held curbside at the Skatium in Fort Myers Sundayserving thousands of students and families.

More than 150 volunteers worked a combined 1,500-plus volunteer hours over the July 24-25 weekend. On Saturday, volunteers worked to stuff 2,000 backpacks with school supplies and 1,000 grocery bags with food. Community Cooperative donated 17 pallets of food to be distributed.

Nearly 40,000 backpacks have been distributed to families over the event’s 22-year history. The event draws thousands of people in attendance each year, with the largest crowd reaching 15,000 during the height of the recession back in 2008.

Event sponsors included presenting sponsor Neal Communities, WINK News, News-Press, Family News, Community Cooperative, Molina Healthcare, Comcasr and CONRIC pr + marketing.