This bean-bag-toss game leads to toys for needy kids at Christmas

Regina Garcia, 51, picks up a bean bag during a cornhole tournament at Full Circle Brewing that benefited Toys for Tots on Sunday, Nov. 27.
Regina Garcia, 51, picks up a bean bag during a cornhole tournament at Full Circle Brewing that benefited Toys for Tots on Sunday, Nov. 27. crodriguez@fresnobee.com

A cornhole tournament Sunday benefiting Toys for Tots had players not just aiming for a hole on a board, but for a goal of raising money for toys for kids.

Just over a dozen people were gathered at Full Circle Brewing in downtown Fresno to compete in the tournament, which had an entrance fee of $10 or a new toy.

Jessica Montano, the Fresno County Toys for Tots coordinator with the Marine Corps League, said the tournament was a way to help out the annual toy drive that goes toward providing Christmas toys for Fresno County kids.

A Marine Corps League booth was on hand to collect the donations, whether it was money or toys.

“We’ll pull (approximately) $100,000 a year, which we turn around and buy toys with,” Montano said.

Last year, just under 50,000 Fresno County children were in need of a toy.

“We were able to give the toys to all of them, so hopefully we will be able to make our goals this year, too,” Montano said.

Montano said already there are about 40,000 children in need this year; an exact number won’t be known until all the applications have been processed. “We have only collected 9,000 toys so far this year,” she said.

The drive began the first weekend of November at an event with the Pontiac of Central California car club and runs until Christmas Day, she said.

About 58 toy-drive events are held every year in a span of 45 days, according to Montano. Toys for Tots works with other organizations to deliver the toys.

“As soon as we get toys in, we send them out to the organizations and then we will have our event just before Christmas,” Montano said.

This year, PR Farms in Clovis is donating a warehouse for the big giveaway.

Bobby Tovar, president of the Dogg Pound League, whose main focus is cornhole competitions, said he wanted to be part of this year’s drive.

“We knew we wanted to work with Toys for Tots this year and give some toys to the less fortunate,” Tovar said.

The Dogg Pound League normally hosts tournaments for fundraisers and charity events. Tovar said cornhole is a growing recreational game. He didn’t say why it’s called cornhole, but said it originated in Cincinnati and has spread throughout the nation.

“We’re just a bunch of cornhole players that like to play cornhole,” Tovar said. “That’s all we do, is just straight cornhole.”

The game is simple: throw a bean bag, and if it goes into a hole on the board, the player earns three points. If the bean bag lands only on the board, one point is awarded.

Regina Garcia of Selma says she is learning the game and how to aim just right. She came out to play, but also to donate $27 for Toys for Tots.

“It’s definitely going to bring some kids happiness,” Garcia said. “It will give them a nice Christmas.”

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez