PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The Peoria police invited the southside to its annual “We Love the Southside” event.

Families were able to enjoy free food from local vendor trucks, bounce houses, games, horse rides, and free haircuts provided by Woodruff Career and Technical Center barber students.

There was also a school supplies giveaway offering tablets, TVs, backpacks, laptops, and more.

Peoria neighborhood officer Marques Smith said the event is a way for the community to interact with law enforcement in a positive way.

He also said he wants the southside to know that people care about them.

“These types of events are important on the southside, because the southside is often forgotten and so this is just another thing that we just want to let the southside know that they’re never forgotten and that we have them in our hearts,” Smith said.

Smith said it is also a way for other local businesses to give back to the southside.

“We just want to give back to the community, and also in the same sense establish a communication between the police and community as well,” Smith said. “And obviously you see a lot of vendors out here, so this is just a lot of people coming together to give back to the community. It’s a great thing.”

Smith added, “We just want everybody to know we love them we enjoy having people out and this is just another way for us to bridge the gap.”