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Families Have Three Back-to-School Events to Choose From This Weekend in Orlando, And This Year It's Not Just About the Free Backpacks

Photo: Sharon McClutcheon
Photo: Sharon McClutcheon

The Hispanic Federation and Commissioner Emily Bonilla are holding back-to-school events this weekend aimed at preparing kids and families for the upcoming school year.

The Federation will be giving out backpacks full of supplies and nonperishable food items at a drive thru event at Sand Lake Road on Saturday from 11 am until 2 pm.

Deputy Director Laudi Campo says parents only need to show proof of school enrollment to pick up materials for up to three kids from the comfort of their cars.

Campo says the goal is to empower these families with whatever they need ahead of the new school year so that they are successful both academically and emotionally.

“The need we have learned throughout this pandemic, that a lot of people have gotten sick, a lot of people lost their jobs, and even though we’re going back to our new normal, we still see that there’s a lot of need in our communities.”

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Campo says the Pfizer vaccine will also be available on site for qualifying adults and children. She says staff can answer questions about the shots in English and Spanish.

Commissioner Emily Bonilla will be passing out backpacks filled with school supplies at two more drive thru events on Saturday.

The first-come first-served events will take place at Bithlo Community Center from 9 until 11 am and Goldenrod Recreation Center from 3 to 5 pm. 

Bonilla says, as a mom, she’s tried to pick out supplies that are practical for the kids but also fun so that they get excited about the upcoming school year. 

But she says these events are also about helping out the parents.

“I know how it’s like to struggle and try to get that money for all those supplies. I remember spending maybe like 300 dollars at one point on school supplies for one of my kids. Just one. So it can be expensive. So I hope that I’m helping out other parents.”

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Bonilla says COVID vaccines are available at both sites and other required school immunizations are available on-site at the Bithlo location.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.