23rd Annual Peace Toys for War Toys exchange draws large crowd

23rd Annual Peace Toys for War Toys exchange draws large crowd
December 24
00:00 2015
Photo by Tevin Stinson
A member of the Carolina Cruisers motorcycle club helps a lucky young man pick out the perfect size bike during the 23rd Annual Peace Toys for War Toys Exchange

By Tevin Stinson

For The Chronicle

When Ben Piggot started the Peace Toys for War Toys exchange program at Simms Center Recreation Center in 1992, he had one goal in mind: to let children know that there is a peaceful way to deal with any and every conflict.

“With all the violence that we see today, I felt it was important to let the children in this community know that violence is never the answer,” Piggot said.

During the 23rd Annual Peace Toys for War Toys Exchange held at the Fairgrounds Annex last Saturday, well over 300 children traded toy knives, guns and other violent toys and video games for brand new, non-violent toys such as basketballs, dolls and board games.

“The event has grown tremendously over the years,” said Piggot. “It has really become a holiday tradition in this area.”

While every child in attendance received a new toy for the holidays, a number of lucky children took home brand new bikes as well. According to Piggot, the bikes were donated by a number of local organizations such as the Prince Hall Shriners, Carolina Cruisers Motorcycle Club, and a number of other local motorcycle clubs.

“We have had some amazing support from a number of organizations in the area,” he said. “They make this event possible.”

While the children bubbled over with excitement during the exchange, a number of parents said with the rise in violent toys, video games and even television shows, it is important that the children in the community learn how to communicate with their peers.

Vanessa Morgan of Winston-Salem said although she doesn’t allow her son to play with guns, there are still a number of ways he is exposed to violence.

“I don’t allow my son to play with guns because that’s the way I was raised myself,” said Morgan. “Although I don’t allow him to play with those types of toys, I still feel like with television and the Internet, children have too much access to violence.”

Morgan said more people should have toy exchange events because it will teach children that violence is wrong. When asked about the future of the event, Piggot seemed confident that with the help from organizations like the fire department and police department, the event will continue to grow.

This year the Winston-Salem Police Department faced off against the Winston-Salem Fire Department in a charity game to raise toys for the exchange.

“Just like the exchange, we hope the charity game grows every year,” said Piggot. “This year we had an amazing turnout, but every year I expect to be bigger than the years past. That is one way we can tell we are reaching the children.”


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