The Great Big Backpack Build: 34 Teams + 400 Volunteers = 21,000+ Backpacks for Students  

Event Kicked Off A Gift for Teaching’s Ready for Back-to-School Campaign 

While summer ushers in a season of sun and fun, it also marks the beginning of A Gift for Teaching’s Ready for Back-to-School campaign. This community giveback campaign is powered by three initiatives designed to prepare local students with the supplies and excitement they need to begin the next school year with success. 

 The Great Big Backpack Build initiative officially kicked off the season with a new record of more than 21,000 brand-new backpacks filled with school essentials, assembled at the Orange County Convention Center with the help of more than 400 volunteers. Generously funded by local companies and supporters, these much-needed supplies will be delivered to more than 140 Orange County public schools with the highest need and public schools in Osceola County – setting students up for a promising start this fall. 

“It’s not just a backpack. It’s having access to the tools that can transform a student’s educational experience, boosting their confidence and enthusiasm for learning,” shares Jane Thompson, President of A Gift for Teaching.

“Teachers buy supplies, often out of their own pockets, to ensure every one of their students can fully participate. That’s why this community effort over the summer is so crucial – it empowers educators and inspires future leaders.” 

In Central Florida, more than 70% of public schools are considered high-need, with thousands of students at risk of starting the next school year without supplies. By coming together, A Gift for Teaching aims to change this narrative and equip those who need it most for success. 

From July 1 through August 26, companies and groups can register to be a part of the Back-to-School Drive initiative – Central Florida’s largest school supply drive – to host their own virtual and/or physical supply drive and stock A Gift for Teaching’s Free Teacher Supply Store with this year’s top 5 essentials: #2 pencils, dry erase markers, spiral or composition notebooks, loose-leaf paper, and pocket folders with prongs. 

On August 22, the Back-to-School Telethon will be broadcast live on WKMG News 6. During this special one-day initiative, all financial donations will be eligible to be matched by generous funders, doubling your donation and impact by transforming every $1 received into $20 worth of supplies for local teachers and students. 

For more than 25 years, A Gift for Teaching has been committed to ensuring Central Florida students have the tools and experiences they need to succeed each school year. This past academic year alone in Orange County, nearly $9 million worth of supplies were distributed to public school teachers and their students, with a significant portion generously donated through the Ready for Back-to-School summer campaign. 

With unwavering support from the community and impact partners like Universal Orlando Foundation, The Joe & Sarah Galloway Foundation, and many more, A Gift for Teaching can continue to provide free educational resources that empower teachers and inspire students. Join today at to participate in these vital initiatives and help our students get ready for another successful school year.

For media opportunities and photos/videos, please contact Denise Naranjo, Director of Marketing.