Creative fundraisers have long been part of the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund tradition. But it’s safe to say the 66-year-old fund never benefited from a cornhole tournament before.

The HoHoHoles tournament held Saturday in Portland raised $500 for the fund, said Jessica Pachuta, an event planner and cornhole player who put it together.

“What better than to do something you love that benefits someone at the holidays,” Pachuta said.

For the uninitiated, cornhole is an increasingly popular game most often played by people in their 20s and 30s, typically in or near a bar or craft beer brewery. You may also have seen it played by football fans tailgating before a game or by families at the beach.

It involves throwing a 16-ounce bean bag about 30 feet and trying to make it land on (and stay on) a 2-by-4-foot platform, or better yet, drop through a small hole near the top of the platform. The bean bag is actually filled with feed corn. Hence the name.

It’s the kind of social game that anyone can play, sort of like horseshoes but safe for indoors. It can also get competitive.

While some novices joined in Saturday, most of those who participated also are part of a weekly indoor cornhole league organized by Casco Bay Sports. Some are so good they could probably make a modest living by playing weekend noncharity tournaments, some of which pay the winner $500 or more. There are regional and national tournaments, as well. One of the top players Saturday joked that he hopes to be on the U.S. team when the game becomes an Olympic sport. Wait, maybe it wasn’t a joke.

In the case of HoHoHoles, the top two-person team – Team Z defeated We Respect Each Other in the final round – won $100 and a few cases of beer. The big winner, however, was the toy fund and all the kids who will get toys to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Pachuta, who organized the charity event with her boyfriend, Greg Dutcher, chose the toy fund as the most fitting recipient. The couple are part of the Portland cornhole league and Pachuta is the event operations manager for 58 Fore Street – owners of the former Portland Co. complex – which donated the use of a former warehouse space for the holiday-themed tournament.

It was so successful, she said, it likely won’t be the last cornhole tournament fundraiser to benefit the toy fund.

The Portland Press Herald Toy Fund is using donations from readers to provide toys to thousands of Maine children who might otherwise not receive holiday gifts because of hardships faced by their parents. The fund helps needy families in Cumberland, York, Sagadahoc, Lincoln and Knox counties.

Donations to help buy the toys can be made on the website or by writing checks to the Portland Press Herald Toy Fund and mailing them to the fund at P.O. Box 7310, Portland, ME 04112.

The campaign’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000. The total raised so far is $97,392.30.

DONATIONS

In memory of Robert and Elizabeth Booth – Stephen G. Booth $150

In honor of Willy and Sammy –Anonymous $100

In honor of our parents –Bill & Valerie Sowles $250

In memory of James and Katherine Nappi $25

In memory of nephews Frank, Evan, Kalen, Karter – Stuart and Margaret Welch $500

In honor of Ethan Strimling $22

In honor of my sister’s work for the Toy Fund – Donna and Jim Katsiaficas $25

Merry Xmas, James! Love, Jill, Ched and the boys $100

Anonymous $150

Genny and Alan $150

With gratitude for all of our blessings $50

To Damen C. Chandler $35

With all our love. You are missed, and loved more – James Chase $360

Merry Christmas from The Skillin School Student Council and Students $200

Because of Carly! In memory of Bill – Jean Ranquist $30

In memory of George Curlew and Pastor Philip Gage – Stanley and Barbara Libby $25

In memory of Tom Cook – from loving family $25

St. Ansgar Lutheran Church $50

Merry Christmas! Kathleen Wilson $100

In memory of Tom and Mary, my parents – Pamela Creamer $25

In memory of the Conant, Reed, McAloney families – Dorothy and Ed McAloney $50

From the Westbrook Office of Maine Staffing Group $100

John J. Sanders $50

Anonymous $100

In loving memory of Prudence Maloon – David Maloon $100

In memory of our parents – Richard Niles $100

To the children of Maine, Merry Christmas! Anonymous $200

A little holiday cheer for the children! Anonymous $100

For all the kids $100

For the children and their families – Leigh and Phil Kirchner $100

Kristen L. Damuth $25

In memory of Elston and Larry – F. Thomas McEwen $100

Merry Christmas! Kate Millard $50

In memory of Christmas past (Evelyn Ward, Jacky Davis, Barbara Napolitano) $200

Diane Walp $40

In memory of George A. Stewart Jr. – Melanie Stewart $50

In memory of Paul and Ann Chandler – Melanie Stewart $50

From Acadia – Zachary and Brannon Stewart $50

In memory of our nephew, Kyle St. Clair, from Roy St. Clair and Elizabeth Germani $100

First Congregational Church, Scarborough $400

In honor and memory of loved ones – Merry Christmas! Dan & Lisa Randall $200

Anastasia Goodwin $50

Paul L. Oldenburg $250

Thursday Night Bridge Group $160

Today’s total: $5,097

Total year to date: $97,392.30

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