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2018 Back-to-School Events and Supply Drives

It’s that time again! Find 2018 back-to-school bashes and donation drives in Polk County by scrolling below.
 
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Upcoming Dates

Student orientation: Thursday, August 9
First day of school for students: Monday, August 13
 
Tax-free holiday: August 3-5
 

Bashes

Back to School Snack Pack
When: Wednesday, August 1, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Where: Renaissance at Washington Ridge Property: Senior Building, 150 W 14th St., Lakeland
What: Gear up for school, and get ideas on how to fuel your kids with healthy snacks that are affordable, easy, and delicious with this free event from UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Family and Consumer Sciences. There will even be food demonstration!!
Contact: 863-519-1041, andreanikolai@ufl.edu
 
End of Summer Back to School Bash
When: Wednesday, August 1, 6-8 p.m.
Where: Gibsonia Baptist Church, 5440 U.S. 98N, Lakeland
What: This free back-to-school event by the Gibsonia Baptist Church includes games, food and fun.
Contact: 863-858-3321
 
Back to School Carnival
When: Friday, August 3, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Brookdale Highlands, 4250 Lakeland Highlands Rd., Lakeland
What: The carnival is $10 for adults and free for children 10 and younger. The proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association. Ticket purchases will include a plate of food (ribs, sliders and sides). Attendees will find a petting zoo, dunk tank, games, face painting, water balloon toss and ice cream truck. The first 30 children will receive a backpack filled with school supplies.
Contact: 863-701-7820
 
Back to School First Friday
When: Friday, August 3, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: Downtown Lakeland
What: Join the Downtown Lakeland Partnership, MidFlorida & St. Leo University as well as community vendors in celebrating the start of a new school year with school-themed activities. First Friday features free family-friendly entertainment, activities, live music, art receptions, a car show, and the opportunity to check out a great, locally-owned restaurant or retail establishment on the first Friday of each month.
Contact: info@downtownlakelandfl.com
 
Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, August 4, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Where: Wilfred Smith Resource Center, 135 Avenue Y N.E., Winter Haven
What: Join Polk County Parks & Recreation for this free family event featuring free school supplies for children entering kindergarten through the fifth grade (first come, first served). Families will also enjoy music, arts & crafts, prizes, educational exhibitors and children activities.
Contact: 863-298-7898, borisrodriguez@polk-county.net
 
Back to School Community Expo
When: Saturday, August 4, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Florida Technical College Lakeland Campus, 4715 Florida Avenue S. #4, Lakeland
What: Learn about Florida Technical College’s programs while enjoying live music from Hot 101.5, exhibitors, campus tours, free food, family activities and free backpacks with school supplies kits.
Contact: Make your reservation at evenbrite.com/e/back-to-school-community-expo-tickets-47555133685.
 
Back to School Jam
When: Saturday, August 4, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Auburndale City Park
What: This event is free, but donations are encouraged and will be accepted. Attendees will be able to enjoy food, games, prizes, music, entertainment, face painting, raffles, a bookbag giveaway and more.
Contact: 321-304-0472, angelsofdestiny2@gmail.com
 
Bounce Back Party
When: Saturday, August 4, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: New Horizon Church, 400 Orchid Drive, Haines City
What: New Horizon Church’s free event for children in preschool through fifth grade will feature bounce houses, activities, games, crafts and foods.
Contact: office@nhcpolk.org
 
Mulberry’s Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, August 4, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Mulberry High School Gym, 1 Panther Place, Mulberry
What: The Heart of Florida Arbor and the Ministerial Alliance will be distributing backpacks (pre-registration is required) and hot dogs to celebrate the start of a new school year. Bounce houses and more will make this a fun event.
Contact: 863-427-2290
 
Summer Palooza
When: Saturday, August 4, 1-5 p.m.
Where: Simpson Park, 1725 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., Lakeland
What: New Beginnings High School is hosting the annual Summer Palooza event so that families and children will have the necessary resources to go back to school. New Beginnings’ Summer Palooza will provide necessities along with educational guest speakers, a warm meal, and entertainment throughout the morning.
Contact: Shawna Butler, 863-298-5666
 
Back to School Snack Pack
When: Tuesday, August 7, 3-4 p.m.
Where: Carrington Place Community Room, 1411 Kettles Ave., Lakeland
What: Gear up for school, and get ideas on how to fuel your kids with healthy snacks that are affordable, easy, and delicious with this free event from UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Family and Consumer Sciences. There will even be food demonstration!!
Contact: 863-519-1041, andreanikolai@ufl.edu
 
Rock the Block Back to School Bash
When: Friday, August 10-Sunday, August 12, 4-8 p.m.
Where: Harvest Church Lakeland, 2120 Airport Rd., Lakeland
What: Bring the entire family to this free community event featuring giveaways, free backpacks, free haircuts, a health fair, hot dogs, cotton candy, bounce houses and more.
Contact: 863-682-7000
 
Back to School: Party at the Pool
When: Saturday, August 11, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where: Spence Park, NE 1st St., Mulberry
What: Kick off the start of school with a Moana meet and greet, waterslides and the pool fun in Mulberry.
Contact: 863-393-8166
 
Lake Eva Back to School Bash
When: Saturday, August 11, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Where: Lake Eva Banquet Hall, 799 Johns Ave., Haines City
What: This free community event is a great opportunity for parents and their children to receive needed school supplies. The bash will include: free backpacks, haircuts and food as well as bouncy houses, guest speakers and a special appearance by Smart Mouth’s Jason Alexander.
Contact: 863-438-2758
 
Belk Back-to-School Charity Sale
When: Saturday, August 25, 6-10 a.m. (& later)
Where: Belk, 1400 Town Center Dr., Lakeland
What: The Belk Charity Sale is a private sale dedicated to supporting local nonprofits. The Learning Resource Center as well as other participating charities and schools will have the opportunity to raise money by selling $5 tickets, and keeping 100% of ticket proceeds. Ticket holders will receive 20% – 70% off of Belk purchases storewide, including special savings on rarely-discounted brands plus $5 off their purchase. The presale takes place August 13-24. Stop into the Learning Resource Center (1628 S. Florida Ave., Lakeland) to pick up your tickets today!
 

Donation Drives

Back to School Personal Hygiene Product Drive
When: Taking place now
Where: Top Buttons Upscale Boutique, 236 N. Kentucky Ave., Lakeland
What: In preparation for the upcoming school year, Top Buttons is collecting BRAND NEW personal hygiene items for the young ladies in the Wearing Confidence Program! Donate any of the suggested items below (at either of our locations) and receive $5 off any upscale thrift item.
Toothpaste, Shampoo/Conditioner, Hair brushes, Deodorant, Feminine Products, Body soap, Lotion
Contact: 863-450-4060, info@topbuttons.org
 
Miracle Toyota School Supply Drive
When: Now Through Wednesday, August 8
Where: Miracle Toyota, 37048 US-27, Haines City
What: Miracle Toyota in Haines City is planning to donate 1,500 backpacks to children in Haines City. The dealership has worked with Bethune Academy, Trinity Worship Center and Church Manantial de Bendiciones over the years to make sure students are equipped for success. This year, the dealership will donate additional backpacks for each car that’s sold, but it welcomes donations of backpacks or school supplies from those not looking to buy a car, as well.
 
Stuff the Bus
Stuff the Bus is Central Florida’s largest back-to-school campaign. In addition to the traditional school supplies that are needed such as pens, pencils, wide rule paper, folders with prongs, crayons, markers, backpacks, glue and erasers, you may also donate copy paper, facial tissue, index cards, highlighters, hand sanitizer, zip lock bags, and pencil boxes.
 
Lakeland: August 8, 7-8:30 a.m. at Hall Communications (404 West Lime St.)
Lakeland: Through Sunday, August 5 at Victory Church (1401 Griffin Road)
Bartow: Accepting donations now; Event: August 17, 5 p.m. at the Bartow Chamber (510 N. Broadway Ave. in Bartow)
 
LEGOLAND Florida School Supply Drive
When: August 2018
Where: LEGOLAND Florida, 1 Legoland Way, Winter Haven
What: Amusement park visitors are encouraged to bring new and unopened school supplies to donate to homeless students at Polk County Public Schools, through the Homeless Education Advocates Restoring the Hope program. Standard parking is also free at LEGOLAND Florida during the month of August.
 
Mattress Firm Foster Kids School Supply Drive
When: Now through Sunday, September 2
Where: Florida Mattress Firm locations
What: Advocates for Florida’s foster children have launched a back-to-school donation drive. Donations of backpacks filled with essential classroom items can be dropped off at Mattress Firm locations throughout the state. The drive is co-sponsored by the nonprofit Ticket to Dream Foundation and the Florida Department of Children and Families. Visit mattressfirmfosterkids.org for store locations and more information.
 
 

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