Hundreds pack Back to School Expo at Amway Center

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

The Amway Center was full of families Saturday morning who were gearing up for the new school year.

The doors for Hope Now International’s Back to School Expo opened an hour early as anxious parents lined up to get their hands on free backpacks, school supplies and other back-to-school essentials.

Parent Cheryl Addison said she was the first in line last year, and was one of the first this year.

“Get there early. Get in, get out. Makes the environment a lot quicker and nicer,” she said.

Hundreds of students and parents poured through the doors starting at 9 a.m. and there were no signs of it slowing down.

“I think it’s real nice what they are doing for the community and for the kids,” said parent Sharneisa Fletcher.  

Children at the expo got a backpack full of school supplies, and then it was upstairs for free haircuts, health screenings and dental care.

“It’s awesome. It helps a lot, with my wife being a stay-at-home mom,” said parent Chris Wyant.

This is Hope International’s ninth year putting on the event, which is hosted by 9 Family Connection.