Cliff Partlow/staff photographer
For a dozen years or more, Operation Hope in Fellsmere has helped those in need get ready for the upcoming school year by giving away backpacks filled with school supplies. Saturday's annual event drew hundreds of students grades K-12 and their parents to the nonprofit. The free backpacks provide an extra boost during these hard economic times. Jan Zermeno, vice president of Operation Hope, said they had 813 fully loaded backpacks to give away this year thanks to supporters like Center Point Church in Palm Bay who bought and filled 250 backpacks, Alpizar Law, IMS Partners, also from Palm Bay and First Presbyterian Church and Indian River Civic Association in Vero Beach.
Emily Villanueva, 12, and Sandra L. Rincon, perform traditional Mexican dances for the crowd waiting for the Operation Hope Backpack Giveaway Saturday.