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Toy giveaway first major use of center

Published 10:18pm Saturday, December 7, 2013

The toy store and food giveaway the Salvation Army will conduct later this month for families in need will be the first major use of its new Robert W. Harrell Jr. Physical Health and Education Center.

“We think it’s going to be great,” said Salvation Army Suffolk Corps Capt. Jim Shiels. “It’s great to have a spot that’s right here and we don’t have to go across town to manage it. It’s a real blessing to have.”

Previously, the Salvation Army set up its toy store in empty retail spaces and warehouses, most recently a former grocery store on Holland Road.

“It’s working out great,” Shiels said. “There’s no doubt this makes it so much easier to have the space and have it right here. It’s a blessing for the community to have a facility like that to be able to do these kinds of programs.”

The Toys for Tots organization purchased the toys that will be given out in Suffolk with money raised by the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund.

People who need help for the holidays, whether with toys, food or both, were signed up by Salvation Army and Suffolk Social Services. About 5,000 children are expected to receive toys, with another 200 to 400 seniors who will get food.

“This is kind of cool,” Shiels said. “Everybody wants my job when you can be the biggest Santa Claus in town. It’s just a cool thing to know that you’re helping so many people.”

To donate to the Cheer Fund, send a check to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439 or bring it to our office, 130 S. Saratoga St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We will list your donation in the newspaper, but it can be marked “anonymous” if you like. Donations may be made in honor of or in memory of someone. If you bring the check to our office, we’ll even take your picture as you hand it to one of our staff.

For more information on the Cheer Fund, call 934-9616.

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