TOSSING FOR TOYS: Tony Davenport Jr., 9. of Chocowinity presents a toy to firefighter James Smith during Saturday's Toss for Tots event in Chocowinity.

Archived Story

Fire department brightens Christmas with fundraiser

Published 6:24pm Monday, December 9, 2013

CHOCOWINITY — Members of the Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department are used to putting their lives on the line to help out during emergencies.

But come Christmas time, the firefighters add the duties of Santa’s helpers to their resumes.

Saturday found many of the department’s volunteers pitching in during the Toss for Tots cornhole tournament, held in conjunction with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots holiday program. Toss for Tots is in its third year in Chocowinity, but this was the first time the department served as primary sponsor.

“We wanted to do a holiday event for the community,” said Brian Lanning, a captain with the fire department and co chairman of the event along with Assistant Chief James Smith. “We decided to do this as a fundraiser for Toys for Tots.”

Cornhole is a popular sport, based loosely on the beanbag toss games of childhood. Depending on who you ask, cornhole’s roots are in 14th century Germany … or it is based on a game played by Native Americans, who filled pigs’ bladders with dried beans and tossed them.

Regardless of its origins, the game brought together enthusiasts looking for friendly competition and the opportunity to do a little something special for youngsters who may not have much under the tree Christmas morning. Among those gathered in Chocowinity were local amateurs as well as more seasoned members of the American Cornhole Organization.

“We hope to get a lot more people involved in years to come,” said Smith, who added that one of the department’s goals is to host a larger tournament that would bring together fire departments from throughout Beaufort County and surrounding areas.

In the meantime, anyone who missed Saturday’s tournament may still help out the cause by donating new, unwrapped toys, according to Lanning. The Chocowinity Fire Department will continue to serve as a drop-off location for Toys for Tots through Friday.

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