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Florence tennis tournament gives back to community

On December 5, over 80 Pee Dee Area tennis players and a large number of spectators gathered at the Dr. Eddie Floyd Florence Tennis Center for the annual Polar Bear Tournament, a round-robin doubles event sponsored by the Florence Tennis Association. 

Held each year in early December, this event attracts players of all levels who want to help their community by playing their favorite sport. The most special aspect of this tournament? The entry fee is a new toy, and all of the toys go to the Salvation Army to help make Christmas better for children from families that are having a hard time.

Captain Tim Scott, Commanding Officer of the Salvation Army in the Pee Dee Region, called the gift of almost 100 toys a godsend, noting that they are needed this year more than ever. 

Because of COVID-19, he added, the Salvation Army has more requests for support than it can handle, including many from families where the parents are without jobs for the first time.  The toys collected by the FTA, he said, “will guarantee a Merry Christmas to dozens of children in Florence and the surrounding area.”

FTA President Kevin Light, called this year’s event: “a win for everyone. We had a great morning playing the sport we love, and we helped people who truly need our support. This is an important example of the work we do to every day to make the FTA a good corporate citizen.”  

Tournament Director and FTA Board Member Dusty Braddock added: “Everybody pitched in, everything went smoothly, the players had a great time, and we collected a ton of toys.”

The Polar Bear Tournament was started by former Florence City Pro in the 1980s and taken over by the FTA in 2003.