Cheer Fund helped by Chums

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 4, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

There are many community service organizations in the city, and if all could meet the challenge issued by the Chums Club, every underprivileged child in Suffolk would be visited by Santa Claus.

Madelaine Wilson and Ernestine Jenkins, the public relations committee of the Chums Club, delivered a $100 check that helped boost the Cheer Fund figure. The News-Herald sponsors the Cheer Fund each Christmas, and contributions are used to purchase toys, dolls and bears for the children.


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Chums is an organization that has been involved in community service since 1937. They not only provide funds for the Cheer Fund’s &uot;Santa’s Helpers&uot; campaign, but also give donations to several charitable organizations and scholarships for the youth of Suffolk.

&uot;We give to the Cheer Fund each Christmas for the children,&uot; said Wilson. &uot;We just cannot imagine a child being left out on a day when all children expect toys from Santa.&uot;

Mary Howell Reid, president of Chums, also noted that if every service club in Suffolk could give at least $100, there would be plenty of help in paying for Christmas toys.

This year, the Cheer Fund needs $40,000 in contributions for toys already delivered from toy merchants, including Namco, Oscars, and Mercy USA. The toys will go to 902 girls and 784 boys across the city.

Toys were stored by Charles Pond of Nansemond Cold Storage, and the Department of Parks and Recreation moved the toys to the distribution center Thursday. They will be distributed to parents on Dec. 16. Social services and the Salvation Army will contact by mail the parents of children selected to receive the gifts.

Local citizens, businesses, churches, clubs and civic groups, and schools are all instrumental in contributing to the Cheer Fund. These Santa’s Helpers realize that without their help, Santa may not be able to visit each child in Suffolk.

Any small gift is of great benefit to the Cheer Fund. It takes the small gifts as well as the large to amass $40,000. As for the larger gifts, there are many industries and businesses in Suffolk who annually help pay for the toys.

Ciba, for instance, has donated $1,000 and the employees there, headed by Regina Copeland and Clayton Andrews, plan to donate a large number of toys in response to a challenge issued by last year’s team of Santa’s Helpers at Ciba. That group of enterprising folks gave the $1,000 plus 50 new bicycles and helmets and other toys as well, and the employees have challenged other businesses to come up with similar contributions for the kids.