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Toledoans take a stand against gun violence with annual Thanksgiving charity flag football game in support of victims' families

Raising awareness around the issue of gun violence and getting kids off the streets was the goal of the 4th annual Brotherhood Turkeybowl in south Toledo.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Hundreds of Toledo residents spent their Thanksgiving morning playing a friendly game of flag football at Danny Thomas Park in south Toledo. The reason why? 

They're standing up to the gun violence that's been plaguing the city the past several weeks.

"My little brother, Jaylen, just died the other day. The 8th grader. R.I.P. little Jaylen," said Jayson Thomas.

RELATED: 14-year-old boy killed in central Toledo shooting

"You know, I grew up in the streets and everything, but I never let it get the best of me because I know sports is always an option to get away," Thomas said. "You never know what you'll go through. Sports has always been a place for me to escape from the real world and just be who I really am." 

This is an issue that's been weighing heavy on the residents of Toledo as 60 deadly shootings have happened just this year. 

Raising awareness around the issue and getting kids off the streets was the goal of the event.

Kevin Braswell said it's going to take more than just charity events, though. 

"I think the city needs to do a better job with that. We can't do that. But as a community as a whole, we can," he explained. "But individually, we can't do that. I think as a city, we need to get together. The mayor, there's no reason he's not here today."

Thomas said bringing everyone together in one place to have fun is a step in the right direction.

"Everybody gets hit by gun violence and it strikes everybody's family, everybody around all type of neighborhoods," Thomas said. "This type of stuff right here - it gets your mind off it. Everybody comes together like one big family. Everybody is just playing football."

A total of 47 toys and $572 will be donated to the families of gun violence victims.

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