PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — It’s meant to be a way for underprivileged students to have the essentials they need for school, and the initiative is starting back again in June after great success in its first year.

“Fill the Fire Truck” was started last year by the Peoria Fire Department along with the African American Association of Firefighters. Other contributors include the Tri-county Urban League and the Peoria Park District. The initial goal the department had for last year was to give 50 to 100 students school supplies and backpacks, but they ended up giving supplies to over 400 students. This year, the department hopes to give at least 1000 students supplies.

Peoria Fire Chief Shawn Sollberger said that while the campaign is a positive one, it can also evoke a bittersweet feeling.

“When we went down to the Tri-county Urban League last year, to see how many people were in line to get backpacks and get those supplies, it’s good and bad, it’s good from the sense that you did so much but then you saw kids walk away without backpacks and so that touches your heart in a different way,” Chief Sollberger said.

Chief Sollberger added that part of the reason for the initiative’s success is the way they were able to get their message across through radio networks and TV stations.