Toys for Tots basketball pits DeKalb District 428 with first responders to fundraise, collect toys for area children

DeKalb District 428 faculty’s 51-50 victory over the Guns and Hoses marked the team’s first in several years.

The Guns and Hoses and DeKalb District 428 faculty tip off at center court Monday, Dec. 5, 2022 in the Toys for Tots community basketball game.

DeKALB – DeKalb fire and police joined forces Monday to square off against DeKalb School District 428 faculty in the sixth annual Guns and Hoses basketball game.

The annual event, which paused in both 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, set out to raise money and toys for local children. The DeKalb faculty pulled out a 51-50 win, marking the team’s first victory in several years.

Kathi Davis, DeKalb County’s Toys for Tots coordinator, said the game is known to exhibit “a lot of competition” and “a lot of verbal exchanges” between members of the two teams.

“They have a lot of fun, and that’s really what I think it’s all about,” Davis said. “And then we get a lot of toys donated, a lot of good toys. So, that works out very well.”

The game was played at Huntley Middle School. Admission cost was an unwrapped toy worth at least $5 or $5 cash. Students were admitted for $2 or a $2 toy.

DeKalb County Toys for Tots is tasked with coordinating the event and collecting donations.

In the past, the event has collected an average of $300 and more than 100 toys, organizers said.

The toys and money donated will go to support agencies in DeKalb County such as The Salvation Army, Head Start and Hope Haven.

There isn’t a set fundraising goal, but Davis said the hope is to meet the need.

“Usually, we at least meet the needs,” she said. “In the 10 years I’ve done this, the money’s always come through one way or another.”

Ray Hernandez, team captain for Guns and Hoses, said that seeing the crowd in attendance for the game meant a lot to him.

“It’s nice to see all the community support for DeKalb police and fire and school teachers alike,” Hernandez said. “It’s just good to see that many people come out and support a good cause.”

Despite how competitive it got down the stretch, both teams maintained the friendly spirit of the game.

Hernandez said he and the Guns and Hoses take no offense to how competitive the game got at times.

“There’s no hard feelings,” Hernandez said. “Every time that these two groups get together it’s competitive. We like to give the people a good show. No hard feelings at all. They snapped our winning streak, but we’ll get over it.”

Andrew Sperry, team captain for DeKalb District 428 faculty, shared that sentiment.

“We play together a lot,” Sperry said.

Sperry said he’s glad he took part in the game.

“It meant a lot,” Sperry said. “[There’s] so many people here. It just was an overall really good experience. Everyone was cheering at some point. Everyone was into the game. It was special.”

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