The event, which will be held at Tommy Mann Field in Woodstock, will take place from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be carnival games, a jump house, food and five baseball games. There is no admission charge.
However, what sets this kickoff apart from others is the service aspect. All those who attend are asked to bring boxed or canned foods as a donation.
“We are asking people to bring some extra food,” said Chris Tracy, founder and president of the Junior Chiefs organization. “People think of this type of thing at Christmas, but not usually during the rest of the year.”
Tracy said the Junior Chiefs also host approximately six baseball tournaments a year and do the same thing — they ask for food donations instead of charging admission. The group usually gathers between 300 and 400 items, which are then taken to MUST Ministries.
Tracy said the idea was rather simple and all started when he founded the Junior Chiefs three years ago in an effort to keep kids playing in Cherokee County and develop a feeder system for Sequoyah High School.
“We built the field a couple years ago and the idea was to do something different in the local community,” he said. “We built the field as a community and wondered what other good things could we do for the community, and the canned-food drive was one of them.”
The Junior Chiefs, which includes players ages 9-14, are involved in other charity outlets during different times of the year.
As a non-profit organization, it puts what it can back into the community. This year, the organization was able to provide scholarships for several players whose families could not afford the $1,000 to $1,500 it costs to play.
“To be able to help out families who fell on hard times was really something,” Tracy said. “That $4,000 or $5,000 they we were able to give back and let those kids continue to be apart of something special.”
Tracy encourages entire families to come out to the kickoff today. He said it’s a good time for people to socialize and enjoy more than just a baseball game.
“It’s really a good time and something special for the community,” he said. “We do it every year and people seem to like it.”