The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida announces Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School will serve as the new venue for the 18th annual Big Backpack Event, to be presented 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 30 at 4750 Winkler Ave., Fort Myers. 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 17 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 35,000 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 as early as 7 a.m., but moves quickly once the doors open.

Families will enjoy other event festivities such as face painting, inflatables, 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, “Allowing students to prepare for a new school year with confidence and pride is an experience I am grateful to share every year with our committee, sponsors, vendors and volunteers. Combining that experience with a celebration of the diversity that makes our community so vibrant makes the Big Backpack Event a special occasion to look forward to year after year.”

For more information on Adopt-A-Student, vendor, volunteer or business sponsorship opportunities, visit or email


Click here to download flier (Español)

Click here to download flier


Topics: children, Learning, Donations, first day of school

Subscribe to Email Updates

Grammy Tammy's top five tips for dealing with biting

For parents of toddlers, biting is a huge area of concern that causes emotional stress. When moms and dads drop their kids off at daycare, the expectation is that their children will be safe. The last thing they expect is to see a bright, red chomp mark on their child’s skin when they pick them up.

Here are some suggestions for managing your feelings and child’s struggle when it comes to biting.



Recent Posts