More than 10,000 turn out for Big Backpack Event

Gabrielle Sarann

More than 10,000 turn out for Big Backpack Event

CREATED Jul. 29, 2012

FORT MYERS, Fla. - "We've been here since this morning around 5 a.m.," said Adlyne Azemar, of Fort Myers.

Thousands grateful for a hand in hard times. 
"We have six kids born here and I thank God because in Haiti we don't have nobody to help us like this," added Adlyne.
The 13th Annual Big Backpack event, sponsored by the Multicultural Center of southwest Florida, at Harborside in Fort Myers drew more than 12,000 people. It was a chance for families to get school supplies at no cost.
"It helps out, every little bit helps," said Joseph Saylor, of Cape Coral, with his three kids.
"Everybody has a hard time right now, so it will definitely help us out," said Sabrina Roberts, of Fort Myers.
People began lining up at 2 a.m. on Sunday. When doors opened at 11 a.m., it snaked around Edwards Drive. Moms and their children braced the 90 degree heat. A dad shielded his baby from the sun. Inside, thousands waited for things like backpacks, pencils and notebooks. Essentials that may be tough for some to afford.
"It would be tight," said Carinne Philipshask, of Cape Coral, as she got supplies for her 10-year-old brother. "It would be kind of hard for my family and you know how the economy is."
And there was more. Bananas for everyone who came. And children got free eye screenings and hair cuts. A fresh start to the school year. 
"I just can't wait to learn at school," expressed 8-year-old Eugene Major, of Fort Myers.
The goal is to inspire kids one backpack at a time.
The two sponsors were Walmart and Pendass Law Firm.