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Sunday, October 1, 2023

2nd annual Community Giveback offering thousands of free backpacks

Marion County Public Schools, the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County, and AdventHealth Ocala are teaming up for the second consecutive year to give away thousands of backpacks filled with supplies to local students.

The second annual Community Giveback event will be held this Saturday, July 29, from 10 a.m. to 1 pm., and over 7,000 backpacks filled with school supplies will be distributed at 10 locations throughout Marion County. The event is supported by Skanska, Thaddeus Bullard (a.k.a. WWE Global Ambassador Titus O’Neil), and the Bullard Family Foundation.

The event’s main location will be at the AdventHealth Ocala Auxiliary Center (1542 SW 1st Avenue in Ocala), and additional satellite locations will also be open:

  • Dunnellon Middle School (21005 Chestnut Street in Dunnellon).
  • Fort McCoy School (16160 NE County Road 315 in Fort McCoy).
  • Lake Weir High School (10351 SE Maricamp Road in Ocala).
  • Liberty Middle School (4773 SW 95th Street in Ocala).
  • North Marion High School (151 W County Road 329 in Citra).
  • Friends Recycling Center (2350 NW 27th Avenue in Ocala). This site will be drive-thru only, and no registration is required.

The following locations will also host additional giveaways on alternate dates:

  • Lake Lillian (Robinson Road in Belleview) on Friday, July 28, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Forest Community Center (777 S Highway 314A in Ocklawaha) on Saturday, August 5, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Frank DeLuca YMCA Gymnasium (3200 SE 17th Street in Ocala) on Tuesday, August 8, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

MCPS parents and guardians should click here to register their students. Each student is required to be registered under their name (not the parent/guardian’s name).

In order to serve as many children as possible, students can only be registered for one location. A student number for MCPS students is mandatory. If the student is attending a non-MCPS school, please enter the student ID based on the school location.

The Back to School Community Giveback effort in Marion County is part of a larger event sponsored in the Tampa area by the Bullard Family Foundation.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the event can click here to register through Marion County Public Schools, or contact Lauren Debick (executive director of Communications and Community Engagement) via email at: Lauren.Debick@marion.k12.fl.us.

To donate to a school supply drive list benefiting the Community Giveback effort, community members, businesses and others can click here to purchase supplies from Amazon. All items will be shipped to, and distributed by, the Community Foundation. Donation boxes will also be available throughout Ocala/Marion County at various sponsor locations.

For more information, contact Ashley Gerds (Director of Strategic Engagement at the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County) via phone: 352-622-5020, ext. 105 or email: ashley@ocalafoundation.org.