Thankful for programs’ volunteers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 26, 2002

It’s a hard job, but thank God somebody loves doing it. What I’m referring to is volunteering.

Tomorrow, many will give of themselves and participate with various organizations in feeding the hungry or people who just don’t want to spend the Thanksgiving Day alone. Other major volunteer programs are the &uot;Toys for Tots&uot; program and the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund.

As we prepare to give thanks for the many blessings we have experienced, let us also take time to thank God for those people who are giving of themselves and doing all they can to make special children happy at Christmas.

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When I was asked in November 1997 to be the reporter and work with all of the wonderful volunteers in the toys and Cheer Fund programs, I was excited and also a little scared of the challenge.

I have come in contact with many volunteers in both programs. The enthusiasm, motivation and effort that Bill Ashley and Frank Rawls showed me gave me the faith that I could do the job.

During that first year, Ashley was always anxious to show me the steps taken before toys are distributed to children. He took me to the warehouse and explained about the ordering, assorting, itemizing, and delivering.

I soon became involved writing about the activities of donating bicycles, stuffed animals, dolls and other activities from all parts of the community. I visited the schools for parties and lunches with Santa, and reported on the mural that Edith Greene’s art students of Booker T. Elementary School did each year to be placed on the window at the &uot;Toys for Tots&uot; headquarters. Every year since, Ashley has kept me informed.

Earlier this year, he was very concerned and disappointed when the usual headquarters that S.L. Nausbaum Inc., had been providing at the Suffolk Shopping Center was no longer available. However, Billy Chorey of

Chorey & Associates Realty finally came through and the program was back on track.

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, this is still another situation that we can be very thankful for.

On Dr. Robert Schuller’s religious program, &uot;Hour of Power&uot; on Channel 13 on Sunday morning, Schuller presented a Thanksgiving program. He told about one of his members who called him in despair when she found out that she had developed cancer. The member asked him to come over to her house to pray with her. Schuller said that he was surprised that when he did arrive and started to pray, the words to the beginning of every sentence began with thank you, for example: &uot;Thank you God for your husband who is here to support you through your illness;&uot; &uot;Thank you God for a good doctor who is treating you to help you beat your disease.&uot; Schuller said he was trying to show her not to dwell on the illness but to be thankful for the people around her who gave strength and encouragement to get through the ordeal. He said the end result was that the woman lived 14 years longer than the time predicted by some doctors.

Now is the time to say thank you to the many financial contributors to the Cheer Fund, for you are the ones who give the volunteers the encouragement not to focus on the hard work.

The programs have been a success for 38 years whether the financial goal has been met or not. One thing is for certain, the underprivileged children’s goal each year has always been met.

The Toys for Tots and the Suffolk Cheer Fund have provided all toys and funds with no administrative costs.

When the program first began in 1964, only about 186 underprivileged children began receiving toys. This year over 1,650 will receive toys, and because of you – our financial contributors – this is something in which we all can be truly thankful.

Evelyn Wall is a staff writer and a regular columnist for the Suffolk News-Herald.