DeKALB – DeKalb fire department and police officials force faced off against the DeKalb school district faculty in the fifth annual Guns and Hoses versus DeKalb Faculty basketball game to raise toys and money for local kids.
All monetary donations will be put toward more gifts, all of which will be distributed to local families of children in need during the holidays.
“The principal of Huntley Middle School at the time, Tom Kim – he wanted to do something for Toys for Tots,” said Kathy Davis, who serves as DeKalb County’s coordinator for Toys for Tots. “So the fire department donates tons of toys, and the police donate tons of toys, and the public comes in and donates toys.”
The event began at 7 p.m. at Dekalb’s Huntley Middle School. It was coordinated as part of DeKalb County’s Toys for Tots program. Admission to the game was $5 in cash, or a toy worth $5 or more. Students were admitted for $2 or a $2 toy.
To encourage both donations and spectator attendance, Papa John’s pizza was offered for purchase, alongside free magnets, pencils, pens, bracelets and candy.
Huntley Middle School’s poms team also put on a halftime show of choreography set to music.
“We have competition this Saturday, so we thought it’d be good to perform in front of a crowd, get a feel for it,” said Katie Baraglia, poms coach at Huntley Middle School. “It’s a good way to get toys and money for the community. A lot of the girls brought toys, too, which was really sweet.”
Another way event coordinators hoped to bring in greater attendance than in past years was through competition off the court. A plaque will be awarded to whichever school – Huntley Middle School or Clinton Rosette Middle School – brought in more students.
The basketball game ended in a
48-38 win for the police and firefighters. Despite focus and friendly competition on the court, the players kept sight of the true purpose of the game that evening.
“It’s great, it’s fun,” said firefighter/paramedic Noah Millard, who also helped in organizing the event.
“Families come out and watch us –they think that we can play basketball. So we attempt to make some lay-ups; some free throws, which is ugly, but it’s fun. It’s for a great cause,” Millard said.
After the game, Davis gathered the teams around the boxes of new toys for pictures. Both teams cheered when Davis announced that they had received more toy donations than ever before.
“In the beginning, most of the attendee’s were just families of the players,” Davis said. “But I’m definitely seeing more tonight. We want the public to get into this, so seeing more is really nice.”