Help fund a little cheer

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 7, 2003

My wife volunteers to work in a nursery where our kids go to school. She loves babies and there’s one that she’s particularly taken with.

When I got home from work on Friday she told me about her day and how much joy the little girl gave her. She went on to say that she thinks her family struggles. Small wonder with seven brothers and sisters. She said when her mother dropped her off Friday, she said that they could not find her coat. Cathy was able to find another shirt for her and put it on to help her stay warm.

&uot;I’d love to be able get a coat for her,&uot; she said, &uot;but how can you do it without embarrassing her mother?&uot;

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As usual with anything that doesn’t have to do with the newspaper or golf, I didn’t have a clue about how to help her.

Many of us feel like my wife does, particularly during the holidays. There’s nothing sadder than a child that may be going without and a feeling of helplessness when it comes to doing anything about it.

But, of course, there is something we can all do. There are hundreds of families in Suffolk that are struggling, whose children are likely to get little if anything on Christmas morning.

That’s why I was relieved this week to find Cheer Fund donations finally coming in.

Our goal this year is $40,000 and we have a long, long way to go.

A little bit about the Cheer Fund: First off, 100 percent of the money donated stays in Suffolk is help assure that all Suffolk children receive a few quality toys at Christmas.

All the money donated goes to fund the Toys for Tots program locally, not to be confused with the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program, which also operates all over Hampton Roads.

For almost 40 years, local Toys for Tots volunteers have worked hard to make sure that Suffolk children in the most wretched of circumstances have at least a little material joy in their lives, if only once a year.

The program and the children, however, depend entirely on readers of the Suffolk News-Herald to make this happen. Each and every year you have come through for them.

I realize of course that times are difficult for many people, but any donation, no matter how small, is appreciated and will be put to good use.

Not to knock other charities – all of which, by the way, do good works – but there’s no guarantee that that change or few dollars you put in the kettle will be returned to Suffolk. The Cheer Fund is the one and only Christmas program that is dedicated exclusively to serving the children of Suffolk and we need your help.

If you’re feeling a little guilty about the Playstation II you bought your child, then good. That was my intention. But it’s not too late to redeem yourself. There’s still 18 days until Christmas. If you can afford it at all, please send a little bit of money to the Cheer Fund, care of this newspaper, P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, Va. 23439. Not only will it make Christmas a little better for a poor child in Suffolk, but it will make you feel better, too.

There’s no better feeling than knowing that you’ve helped someone who was unable to help themselves. It’s priceless.

So as you’re angling for a place to park at the mall, please think about the little girl with seven brothers and sisters who probably won’t have as good of a Christmas as your child is going to have and the hundreds of others like her that need your help. I know I will.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald. He can be reached at 934-9611 or via e-mail at