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LITTLE HAVANA (CBSMiami) – It was a combination of a giveaway and a party for a group of young students preparing few a new school year.

There was even dancing with Miami Marlins mascot Billy the Marlin.

7 and 8-year-olds lined up with their backpacks open, eager to show off their stuff.

“I got 2 composition books, 1 black folder,” said 8-year-old Damian Gonzalez.

There were so many supplies, one little girl said she didn’t think it was possible to get that much.

“I just didn’t think it would happen,” said 7-year-old Ashley. “I feel, well, excited.”

About 5,000 students from five different schools around Miami-Dade County collected a year’s worth of free school supplies, provided by the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana.

The Foundation had given away starter kits in years past but this year the Kiwanis Club president said they wanted to do more.

“Through the process with parents we realized that some kids fell short and parents fell short with their finances,” said President Tony Lorenzo.

Lorenzo said they chose the schools based on children with the most need, receiving the most free and reduced school lunches.

They partnered with the Miami Marlins Foundation which also brought in some star power.

Retired Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez was there to hand out supplies, although he wasn’t quite as well-known among the group as Billy the Marlin.

“I don’t care if they don’t know who I am, I don’t think they know who any of these people are, it’s just great to see the smile on their face when they’re getting paper and a folder and rulers, they love it,” Sanchez said.

Now ready for school, the impact on these kids is immeasurable.

“I’m gonna measure stuff and write lines correctly with this ruler,” said one very excited 7-year-old.


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