|Published:||Jul 21, 2013 6:45 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 21, 2013 7:47 PM EDT|
FORT MYERS, Fl. - Summer is almost over and before you know it, kids will be back in the classroom. Thanks to the 14th Annual Big Backpack Giveaway, thousands will head back with some brand new gear.
What started as less than 50 back packs and 150 people has grown into more than 2,000 book bags and hundreds of families waiting in line for hours.
"I've been here since 7:15 and we were counting down. Every minute it was what time is it what time is it and finally 11 came and we went yay lets get going," says Karen Brandi.
Since the Big Backpack Giveaway started 14 years ago, it's helped about 30-thousand students. Sunday, 400 volunteers were preparing long before the free shopping spree began.
"For those families that have both parents with out work or at least one parent without work, that's devastating when there's no income coming into a household. If there's money being made it's putting food on the table, not to buy school supplies for those kids," says Connie Ramos-Williams.
But Sunday, it was all about those kids
"Well, I picked out the pink back pack because pink is my favorite color," says third grader, Marianna.
"They were trick or treating, they had their back packs out, they were grabbing all the stuff it was like halloween," Brandi adds.
Senator Lisbeth Benacquisto was also here with Mayor Randy Henderson to hand out the first set of backpacks.
"We know first hand how important it is for kids to have that confidence as you mentioned, starting their first day and having all the tools that they need to be successful," she says.
Making whatever it is about school that they love, even more exciting.
"I love learning and I also love going out to recess," adds Marianna.
The event also offered free haircuts and free eye exams for the kids.