PEORIA Ill. (WMBD) — The Dream Center in downtown Peoria is prepping to hand out over 1,500 backpacks to students and families in need.

For the last 21 years, Backpack Peoria has handed out school supplies to struggling families. Since its launch in 2001, they’ve handed out over 60,000 backpacks.

Andy King is the executive director of the Dream Center Peoria, and he said kids are in need of the supplies now more than ever.

“The need is always there, especially right now with the way the economy is and things are very tight, so we know we’re stepping into a need every year,” said King.

Along with backpacks and school supplies that day, there will be medical professionals available for school physicals and dental exams.

Health department staff will also be administrating immunizations, a mobile hair salon will be giving out haircuts and clothing from the hope store, all at no extra cost.

Faith Meghrian volunteered her time to help prepare the backpacks because it makes her feel like she’s spending her time productively.

“It’s like you’re actually helping people and making a difference and not just wasting your weekend,” said Meghrian.

Dream Center Peoria will be handing out school supplies on July 30 from 9 a.m. until noon.