Toy exchange event adds basketball

Toy exchange event adds basketball
December 17
00:00 2015
Photos by Tevin Stinson
Members of the Winston-Salem Police Department and WSFD faced off in the first Peace Toys for War Toys Charity Basketball Game on Friday, Dec. 11, at Carl Russell Sr. Recreation Center.

By Tevin Stinson

The Chronicle

The Peace Toys for War Toys exchange has become an anticipated holiday tradition in the city.

Each year Ben Piggot and a number of volunteers work to make sure each year’s event is better than the year before.

This year, the 23rd edition of the exchange has an added twist and is expected to be the biggest yet.

To gain more support for the event, on Friday, Dec. 11 the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) and the Winston-Salem Fire Department (WSFD) faced off in the first Peace Toys For War Toys Charity Basketball Game.

The game was played at Carl Russell Sr. Recreation Center and admission was the donation of a new toy. A number of attendees mentioned they look forward to the event every year because with war and fighting becoming more commonplace, spreading peace and love is the right thing to do.

“Anytime you can promote peace and love I’m all for it,” said Janice Willis of Winston-Salem. “With so many toys promoting violence these days, it’s good to see events like this that show the children to care for each other.”

Although the basketball game was the main attraction, with a live disc jockey, refreshments, a halftime performance and dance contest, Piggot made sure the fundraiser was fun for the entire family.

“Just like the exchange, my hope is the charity game will continue to grow every year,” he continued. “Both teams put on a show for the fans and that’s what it’s all about, coming together in a positive environment and having a good time.”

The exchange was designed to give children throughout the city an opportunity to exchange toys and video games that promote violence for board games, puzzles, and other nonviolent toys and games.

Piggot started the event in 1992 at Simms Recreation Center after losing his younger brother to gun violence. Over the years, the event has grown to become much bigger than even Piggot himself could have imagined.

Since 2012, the exchange has been held at the Fairgrounds Annex.

“This event has become a real holiday tradition in this area,” he said. “Most importantly it has really grown over the years. In the past, we’ve had over 500 children participate in the event.”

On Dec. 11, after defeating the WSFD by a narrow margin, the WSPD was presented with a trophy that will travel with the winner of the game each year. Although his team didn’t win, WSFD coach Jerrod Hardy seemed confident in his team’s chances next season.

“We had a few mental mistakes but I’m confident we will be taking the trophy with us next season.” He continued, “Although we lost, any time you can give back to the community, everyone wins.”

The 23rd Peace Toys for War Toys Exchange will be held Saturday, Dec. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information on the event contact Ben Piggot at (336) 727-2580 or stop by the Carl Russell Community Center located at 3521 Carver School Road.


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