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FORT MYERS, Fla. (June 27, 2023) – As families continue to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Ian, many are in need of assistance in providing their children with the necessary supplies to begin the school year. For the 24th consecutive year the Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida will be there to help at the annual BIG Backpack Event on Sunday, July 30, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Fort Myers Skatium located at 2250 Broadway. To make it easier for families, the first 2,000 students ages 5 to 12 will receive new backpacks, school supplies and groceries as they drive-thru curbside.

Fort Myers Mayor Kevin Anderson has been named the 2023 Honorary Event Chair. Leonardo Garcia, the founder of the Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida, will serve as event Co-Chair alongside Yadiris Perez-Luna. More than 200 volunteers are needed to stuff backpacks and grocery bags on Saturday, July 29 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the day of the event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers are asked to sign up online.

“It is a sincere pleasure to be named as honorary chair of the 2023 BIG Backpack Event,” said Mayor Anderson. “I am proud to support the Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida and the work that the organization has done to support Lee County school children and families for more than 23 years.”

The event is made possible thanks to the generosity of corporate and individual sponsors and donations. Neal Communities has once again stepped up to be the presenting sponsor. Other sponsors include: the City of Fort Myers, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County School District, CONRIC pr + marketing, HABA, Macaroni KID and Midwest Foods. 

“We are pleased to be able to support the community each year by providing the families with the supplies they need to start the school year off on the right foot,” said Perez-Luna. “To know that we can assist in relieving some of the burden the families have is a truly humbling experience.”

The BIG Backpack Event will provide much needed relief, supplying children with new backpacks filled with pencils, pens, paper, crayons, folders and other essential back-to-school items as well as coupons and other giveaways.

“Ensuring that these families have what they need to start the school year off right is what motivates us to keep doing this year after year,” said Garcia. “We don’t want to see any family struggle and go without.”

For more information about the event, sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, visit or email

Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida

The Multicultural Centre of Southwest Florida is a private 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization that promotes programs aimed at bringing people of different cultures together. The organization aims to culturally link Southwest Florida with other communities around the world. Since 1999, the organization, co-founded by Leonardo Garcia, has hosted The BIG Backpack Event providing support, backpacks and school supplies for families in need. For more information, visit

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