Although a sparkling tree surrounded by brightly-wrapped gifts has become a symbol of Christmas, that sight is not a certainty for many, including the 45 children and young adults in foster care in Scotland County.
On Nov. 3, the Scotland County Department of Social Services will sponsor a cornhole tournament to raise money for Christmas gifts and other items for children in foster care.
“We’re hoping that this can be our only fundraiser and we can focus on the holidays so the foster parents aren’t worrying about how to pay for Christmas,” said Jennifer Byrd, social work supervisor at DSS.
The tournament will begin at 11 a.m. on the campus of the Department of Social Services on West Boulevard. The cost is $25 per person, which includes a lunch of pork and baked beans. Prizes will be given for the three top placings. Event sponsorships at the $25, $50, and $100 levels are also available.
The 45 children in foster care are spread among 22 foster homes in the county, as well as group homes and placements with relatives. Currently, they range in age from 4-19.
“They can stay in foster care past 18 until they’re 21; the only requirement for that is that they’re in school,” Byrd said. “A lot of them when they’re 18 aren’t ready to leave - they have no place to go. We help them become self-sufficient and find their own place.”
Proceeds from the tournament will be given directly to foster homes and group facilities charged with the care of Scotland County’s foster children.
“Because of budget cuts we’ve had to cut back one some of the clothing allowances that we give out,” said Byrd. “What they get this time of year they have to use for clothing; if you’re a teenager it costs a lot to clothe you and put shoes on you. A lot of times there’s not a lot left over for Christmas.”
This will be the first cornhole fundraiser for Social Services, and Byrd hopes it will become an annual fixture. Players are requested to register in advance, but last-minute players will also be accommodated.
Richard Taylor and Mark Joas of Taylor-Made Cut barbershop in Laurinburg plan to donate a cornhole set and bags to be used during the tournament.
Taylor said that customers often play the game while waiting for a haircut.
“It is fun game that has gained a lot of popularity,” Taylor said. “I would urge people to come out and have a good time and help DSS while they are doing it.”
To register to play in the tournament or for sponsorship information, contact Byrd at 277-2500, ext. 3392.