Hundreds of people attended the City of Lights Dream Center's Back 2 School Bash in Dora Saturday.
The second annual event serves to prepare area children in need for the first day of school by providing a number of free giveaways and services.
Children received backpacks filled with school supplies Saturday and enjoyed face painting, inflatables, music and other activities outside. Inside the Dream Center, located at the old T.S. Boyd School, Alabama Lions Sight/Lions Club provided vision screenings for children, and nursing students with Bevill State Community College also performed health screenings.
Each visitor also had an opportunity to browse the gymnasium at the center, which was set up like a clothing store with lightly used clothing and shoes that were donated for the event. Parents and children pieced together an entire outfit free of charge.
Children were lined up down one hallway to get a free back to school haircut to go along with their new wardrobe.
There was a meal provided as well for fellowship.
Jamie Massey, who founded the Dream Center with her husband, Victor, posted a video to the center's Facebook page on Saturday morning. She praised the event's volunteers and spoke of the large crowd.
"This is what community looks like when we all come together to help each other," she said.
The Sumiton Church of God, Dream Center, and many other organizations made the event possible.
The City of Lights Dream Center planned to give away 800 backpacks Saturday but announced that some backpacks and supplies are still available on a first-come, first-serve basis by calling 205-649-0014.
The Dream Center serves those in poverty, as well as people who have battled drug addiction. An after-school program is held at the center, and parenting, addiction recovery, and life skills classes are also provided. The center is also a hub for adult educational services and youth athletic leagues.
More recently, the center has opened a shelter for women and children in need of assistance.
To inquire about the center's services, call 205-255-6688.