The Tuscaloosa Police Athletic League on Friday gave away 300 backpacks with school supplies inside to students in elementary and middle school at the Harris-Glynn Gym at McKenzie Court.
The league, which serves over 200 children every week, was formed in the mid-1990s by then-Police Chief Ken Swindle and former City Council member Bob Lundell, has distributed backpacks to children since the league's founding.
The gymnasium now includes a new lab with 10 computers for children to use for after-school lessons or internet access. The lab resulted from a donation by the Alabama Power Foundation.
Friday morning, children and parents swarmed the gymnasium as officers and volunteers distributed the backpacks, which came in a choice of red or blue, giving children and families extra help as they prepare for the coming school year.
Classes begin Aug, 10 in Tuscaloosa city and county public schools.
The Police Athletic League is a juvenile crime prevention program designed to place police officers and at-risk youth together in a positive environment through structured programs such as athletics, educational activities and cultural trips.
The league provides children with the opportunity to participate in organized activities promoting self-esteem, drug awareness, community cleanup and mentoring.
This article originally appeared on The Tuscaloosa News: Tuscaloosa Police Athletic League gives away back-to-school backpacks