Get ready for a free back to school celebration today in downtown Kissimmee.

This year will be even bigger than last, and will include a raffle for laptops and family fun basket giveaways.

The Back to School Block Party will be from 4 to 6 p.m. on Dakin Street in downtown. Kissimmee Main Street is planning for 500 visitors.

“We want to celebrate education and want each child to have a safe and successful school year,” says Kissimmee Main Street Director Diana Marrero-Pinto. This is the second year the group has held this event, and they are giving away 700 backpacks with school supplies and coupons.

Vendors will be included, such as after-school and educational groups. Uniforms and clothing will be provided by the Church and Community Assistance Program and the Community Hope Center.

“We love the community and have the resources to help. We’ll have a booth with information and clothing,” said Erica Soto, office manager for the Hope Center.

Preparing for school may also mean students will need electronics, and Braz Coffee Shop is donating two laptops to be raffled off. And Main Street Pizza is donating pizza vouchers.

“Everything comes back to helping the community I grew up in,” says Main Street Pizza Owner Lanson Miller. “Everyone is working together and it is amazing.”

For the month of August, Main Street Pizza wants to help families who may need an inexpensive meal. Their jumbo 24-inch pizza will only be $13 instead of the normal $18.

Candyland Designs Co., another downtown company, will be setting up a free cookie decorating station at the back to school event.

“We love participating in the back to school program because it’s a great philanthropic event, and we try to give back to the community as much as possible,” says Leia Perez, owner.

Her bakery boutique specializes in custom cakes and dessert bar designs. Her daughter will also have a table set up for her non profit encouraging kids to #PAYITFORWARD.

Marrero-Pinto says, “Their involvement shows how ingrained the merchants are with the community.”

Also, the local fire department will be there and a scavenger hunt will teach children about the history of Kissimmee. Rodeo tickets, mini golf passes, haircut coupons and restaurant coupons will also be given away. Osceola County students return to school Aug. 12.

Plaza Del Sol invites the public to its Back to School Community Assistance Initiative

Plaza Del Sol’s 2019 Back-To-School Community Outreach will once again partner with businesses and community leaders to help get Central Florida’s youth ready for school.

It will be today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The goodies and scheduled events, which include: free backpacks, free haircuts, deejay music mix, giveaways, face painting, games, family and children’s activities and information on educational products and service.

 Plaza Del Sol is located at the corner of U.S. Highway 192 and North Hoagland Boulevard.

Plaza Del Sol and its community partners will be giving away hundreds of backpacks to local students (one per student). In addition, students will receive the free haircuts provided by Florida Technical College, located within Plaza Del Sol Mall, and families can obtain valuable information about educational products and services from local businesses and organizations.

Come and enjoy the entertainment and take part in the kids’ activities while shopping and learning. All of this while enjoying music and participating in the family-friendly atmosphere.

In addition to all the fun and games, the mall’s stores will offer special sales and discounts on clothing and school supplies during Florida’s 2019 Back-to-School tax-exempt period (Aug. 2-6)

“Plaza Del Sol Mall is dedicated to the well-being of its community,” stated Suzanna Fernández, mall director. “Our Annual Back to School Community Outreach provides an opportunity where local businesses, organizations and community leaders come together, interact, enjoy the ambience and make a difference in the lives of our local children and families.”

Families are encouraged to arrive early, as over 5,000 guests are expected at this year’s event.  Children must be accompanied by either a parent or adult. Supplies available while they last.