PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Dream Center Peoria recently announced that it has received a $100,000 microgrant from Meridian Health to support the building of a new playground in the middle of their indoor track.

Dream Center Peoria Executive Director Andy King believes the new playground will be an asset to the children they serve.

“When they get home from school, there’s no place for them to go and just hang out and be kids, so we will have this indoor playground and the track area for them to be able to go and be able to really run off some steam before they go to bed,” King said.

Meridian Health President and CEO Cristal Gary said the similarities between the two organizations made giving Dream Center Peoria the grant money an easy decision.

“There’s really a lot of alignment in our missions, and we feel so privileged to be able to help provide funding that improves the lives of our members as well as giving them greater opportunities for dignity,” Gary said.

In addition to the playground, Dream Center Peoria also hopes to use the funds to help support their higher operating expenses, specifically their mobile units and emergency shelters. Gary commended the organization for providing these services to the community.

“They’re providing a hair salon, they’re providing mobile shower units, mobile laundry, so for individuals that are experiencing homelessness, being able to provide services and dignity and opportunity to get out of that place,” she said.

For King, the microgrant allows the organization to continue serving the Peoria community the best they can.

“With all the services that we’re doing, and the increase of need that we’re seeing, this will help us to keep on bringing dignity, compassion, and purpose to so many that come through the doors of the Dream Center,” he said.

Among the other speakers that attended this morning’s press conference included state representative Ryan Spain. He said this is a step towards building a more healthy Peoria.