By Brian Kelly

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A St. Louis pastor is hoping that by exchanging balls, bats and dolls for toy guns and violent video games, he can help reduce violence in his community.

Washington Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Rodney Francis tells KMOX’s Charlie Brennan that while such an exchange may not mean much in some neighborhoods, it can have an impact in his community.

“In our context, where guns are being used to harm our children and to harm other folks that perhaps we might want to consider putting something different in our hands and in the hands of our kids to encourage them to stay safe,” Pastor Francis says.

Pastor Francis says the exchange may not prevent the next murder, but it may get people talking.

“This is about having an early conversation with our parents, our kids, our tweens and the teens about what we can do to begin to curb the culture of violence in our community,” he says.

The toy exchange will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 13 at the O’Fallon Rec Center in St. Louis, the North St. Louis County Rec Center and the Jackie Joyner Kersee Center in East St. Louis.


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