SAVOY, Ill. (WCIA) – An Illinois football player wants to use his platform to help the others. That’s why he invited families to skate with him in Savoy, and sent them home with school supplies on Sunday.

Tailon Leitzsey said he wants to help as many children as he can to succeed in the classroom.

“Honestly, it feels good to know that God’s blessed me to be in a position where I can help. To give back. Because there was a time in my life where I wasn’t able to do that,” he said.

The community pitched in too. Leitzsey said his foundation received over $6,000 in donations, and he was able to fill 180 backpacks with school supplies – like notebooks, folders, pencils and more. The cost of those items adds up for parents every time a new school year rolls around.

“Kids don’t get cheaper as they get older, they get more expensive. So [I’m] kind-of figuring out ways to make an impact that I can help.”

Leitzsey wants to help relieve some of that stress. So, he decided to hold a backpack drive at a rollerskating rink.

“I’m blessed, I’m excited to be able to do this,” he said.

It all started when he was brainstorming ways he can make a positive impact. The idea came from being a parent himself.

“One, I’m a father, so having a daughter and how hard it can be at times. Just thinking about families that have multiple children.”

Families stopped by for more than just the supplies.

“My daughter’s going to be in first grade and she really likes to skate. So I thought it’d be good daddy daughter time,” Roy Kretz said.

He said he doesn’t need the supplies, but he’s happy to see people helping each other out.

“I think it’s a good event, a good cause for kids in need of school supplies and backpacks. My wife’s a teacher and she knows some kids out there that are in need as well,” Kretz said.

Leitzsey said it’s the first time he’s held a backpack drive, but it won’t be the last. He hopes it’ll grow bigger and better every year.

“I think it’s going well. The kids are loving it – as you can see they’re skating and having a good time,” he said.

“It’s good for all the kids, something to do on a hot day,” Kretz said.

Leitzsey said if they don’t get rid of all the backpacks today, he’ll find another way to get them to people in the community who could use them.

If you’d like to get involved, he said the Leitzsey Family Foundation has information on all the ways you can help. They accept donations, and businesses can sponsor the foundation. You can also find details about any upcoming events they’re hosting.