Big Backpack Event in Fort Myers helps kids go back to school

Many families are having a difficult time making ends meet due to the coronavirus pandemic. Because of this, parents may not know how they’re gonna afford school supplies for their kids for this upcoming school year.

“You have a job, and then they decrease your pay. Or they decrease your time at work,” said Nyola Moore, who got some supplies for her six children at Sunday’s event.

Whether learning from home or not, students still need certain tools to be successful. So Sunday’s Big Backpack Event in Fort Myers was a way to help make sure those tools were accessible to the families who needed them.

“It helps graciously and it’s wonderful that they have these programs here for these children in place, especially with the pandemic going on,” Moore said.

This year’s Big Backpack Event may have seen the greatest need in the community since the events inception 21 years ago.

They were concerned, and I said – actually, this is the year we have to do it. Because there are a lot of people without jobs, unemployed – we need to provide a way so they can get all of the stuff they need,” said Leonardo Garcia, founder of the Big Backpack Event.

Garcia says this year, he and his team packed more than 2,000 bags for kids in the community. He can tell that he’s making a difference in each family’s life.

“You can see the smile in the mother, father, and the kids – laughing in the back. Happy that they’re getting all of this stuff.”

This year the team added something new to the bags…snacks!

Many other organizations are seeing a drop in donations and lots of nonprofits are hurting however, Garcia says in 2020 they received more donations than ever before.

Southwest Florida really comes on board when you ask for them – especially when it comes to children,” Garcia said. 

Over the year, Garcia has helped more than 40,000 families in Southwest Florida make sure their kids are ready to go back to school.

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
Writer:Drew Hill
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