ST. ANN, Mo. — Marc Mares, who goes by "Big Marc,” is packing for smiles. Two-hundred and fifty backpacks loaded with school supplies are ready for hundreds of kids in the Pattonville District just in time for the new year.
It's just the latest round of giveaways for Mares and his organization, "Kids and Families in Need." The organization has handed out more than 5,800 backpacks in the St. Louis area in the past 10 years.
"It is just so meaningful for our students here in Pattonville that may be facing some struggles in their lives to have folks like Big Marc in the community to reach out to us and want to help the kids be ready for school," said Pattonville Assistant Principal Greg Schnatmeier
"Our mission is to give back to the community, it's always been," said Mares.
The backpack giveaway at Drummond Elementary in St. Ann was extra special for Mares because it took place on August 14.
"It's kind of a hard day for me but I have to do it for him,” said Mares.
The giveaway was to honor his son Isaiah who died unexpectedly in 2016. Isaiah would have turned 31 on the 14th. Mares said much of Isaiah's life was about helping others.
"Isaiah's mission was always kids," Mares said.
Marc is carrying on that mission. A mission he feels his son is still a part of even though he's not here.
"Every time I get ready to do something I get my second wind. when I get ready to break down and cry I get a force... it's unbelievable," Mares said.