A Ministry of Restoration gives out free backpacks to those in need

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- A local organization is making sure Rockford students make it to school with a backpack.

“It really meant a lot to us to be able to reach out into our community with something positive and exciting,” says Pastor Ruby Martin of A Ministry of Restoration.

For 10 years, the organization has been handing out free backpacks and school supplies to those in need in the Rockford Community.

This year they are expecting to hand out 2,000.

“The Rockford area has been in a slump because of all the crime and the [stores] that are closing. [The community] needed a spark to show people care,” says Martin.

“This is how you reduce crime in the long run,” says State Rep. Maurice A. West II, D-Rockford. “With the knowledge they will gain, the degrees that they will get and the job that they will find - they will invest right back into the community.”

Outside of donations, the event serves as a back to school celebration for every member of the community.

“At [the event] you’ve got folks of all ages, all demographics and all ethnicities coming together not afraid to be around each other,” says West.