Published: Aug 21, 2010 11:11 PM EDT
Updated: Aug 21, 2010 8:12 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Monday marks back to school for Lee County students, and a big bash at Edison Mall is helping kids start the year off on the right foot.

It's that time of year again, when students say goodbye to summer and get back to the books.

"The truth is to me, I really didn't want to go back to school," said soon-to-be sixth grader Rosa Aviles.

But Saturday's 2nd annual Back-To-School Blast at Edison Mall is making the switch a celebration. Kids and parents got their picking of a sampling of school supplies, all free of charge.

"I think it's absolutely fabulous. I think everybody in the community could use things like this," said parent Betsy Moore.

Pencils, notebooks, even bike helmets were up for grabs. Volunteers formed an assembly line of sorts to dish out the donated goods.

"The parents are very excited. Some of the students may not be as excited, but I'm sure on monday they're going to be all ready to go," said Fort Myers Police Chief Doug Baker, who attended the event.

A snaking line formed to stock up on the supplies, but with enough for 1, one left empty handed. Organizers say they saw a near 60% increase in turnout from last year. Parents say the crowd is a true sign of the times, a lending hand when people need it most.


"Alot of people are out of jobs, including my husband. First time in 50 years, so it's a blessing," said parent Sabrina Gohl.

The Edison Mall Back-To-School Bash was organized by the City of Fort Myers Youth Services Coalition.