More than 300 children trade violent toys for good toys

Tajae Clark tries out her brand new bike during the 24th annual Peace Toys for War Toys program on Saturday, Dec. 17.

More than 300 children trade violent toys for good toys
December 22
07:30 2016

Photo by Tevin Stinson



The Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Education Building was filled with joy and laughter last Saturday afternoon as more than 300 children gathered for the 24th annual Peace Toys for War Toys program.

During the gathering, sponsored by the city Recreation and Parks Department, children had the opportunity to swap toys like guns and knives for less violent toys like board games and basketballs.  What began as a small community event held at the Sims Center Recreation Center in the Happy Hill neighborhood has grown to become one of city’s most anticipated holiday events.

Now the supervisor at Carl Russell Sr. Recreation Center, Ben Piggott said when he started the event in 1992 he had no idea the event would grow to what it is today.  Piggott started the event just one year after losing his brother to senseless gun violence.

He said, “The vision was to let kids know at an early age to put the guns down and let them know that there are people in this community who care.

“That was the vision but I had no idea it would evolve into this,” smiled Piggott. “The first year we were in a small room, and then the next year we moved to the gym. It’s amazing to see how it has grown over the years.”

Along with the toys, 115 lucky children also left with a brand new bike. According to Piggott, the bikes and toys were donated by Carolina Cruisers, a local motorcycle club; The Prince Hall Shiners; the local chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity; and countless others, including the fire and police departments, who squared off in a charity game last month to collect toys.

“I feel blessed to have so many sponsors,” said Piggott. “I’m overwhelmed that so many people are willing to give.”

After helping her daughter Tajae pick out a bike, Latoya Clark said after hearing about the event from friends, she decided to check it out.

“I think this is a wonderful event because it teaches kids early that violence isn’t the way,” said Clark. “We have to teach them early that guns and weapons only create more problems.”

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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