Multicultural center of SWFL kicking off back-to-school

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 31, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-01 12:45:58-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Multicultural Center of Southwest Florida kicked off back-to-school, Sunday, with their 17th annual backpack give-away.

The event gives away 2,000 backpacks to students in need throughout Lee County. Students received backpacks filled with school supplies such as glue, crayons and notebook paper. Free haircuts were also provided to prepare kids for back-to-school. "It's because of these students you see around the event today. They are happy, they are excited, they deserve to start school with the confidence with new school supplies, like every other student," said event organizer Connie Ramos-Williams. "It's simple and easy. We're a part of the community. I feel everybody has a duty to give back to our community in need."

For parents, the event was an opportunity to show their kids some good. After a deadly shooting at Club Blu left two teens dead on Monday, some parents have concerns sending their kids to school in Fort Myers. "It's definitely a concern," said DJ Burbano. "We cannot live afraid all the time. Of course, we have to take care of ourselves. But at the same time, we have to live our lives."

Burbano said he hopes events like this one will inspire his little girl to give back to the community. "I believe if we do good, other people will do good," he said.

Meanwhile, one volunteer was preparing to go back to school himself. Hallston tells Fox 4 he has a big year ahead of him, as he prepares to enter the fourth grade. He volunteered putting together backpacks for kids in his community, and hopes other kids will see him and do the same. "Get them to volunteer, come back next year, do the same thing, get school supplies, get good grades. It means a lot to everyone," he said.