Backpack give away

By Marc Strauss

July 31, 2010 Updated Jul 31, 2010 at 6:22 PM CDT

Thousands of local elementary school students lined up to get free backs packs at Dream Center Peoria Saturday.

3,000 backpacks were given away, along with 1,000 $15 gift cards that can be used toward the purchase of school uniforms at Sam Harris Uniforms for Kids.

"We saw a huge need while we were doing a program on the near north side of parents and grandparents having to choose between school supplies or shoes," said Andy King, the executive director of Dream Center Peoria.

"We felt we could address the schools supplies issue. That year we started with 300 and ever since then we've done Backpack Peoria and given away over 14,000 over the years."

This is the 9th year the Dream Center has held the backpack give away. Back to school physicals were also available, conducted by staff from Methodist Medical Center at no charge.