QVC employees make #036;3,500 donation

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 22, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

When Ciba Specialty Chemicals gave $1,000 and its employees donated 65 new bicycles and a truckload of toys, the company challenged other industries in Suffolk to meet or exceed its gift to the Toys for Tots campaign.

Picking up that challenge, QVC employees gave and gave and gave some more.

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In fact, they kicked in $3,500, the largest corporate gift ever received in the 38-year-history of the Suffolk News-Herald’s Cheer Fund, the financial arm of the Toys for Tots campaign.

And their generosity didn’t stop with cash. QVC’s employees also contributed a truckload of toys, all contributions that will make this Christmas special for more than 1,600 underprivileged children in Suffolk.

At the time QVC donated its cash gift, the contribution was more than half of the total that had been collected to date.

QVC employees are challenging the workers of other companies, including Sara Lee and Golden State Foods, to meet or exceed their contributions.

Michael B. Barrett, general manager of QVC’s Suffolk Distribution Center in Wilroy Industrial Park, said the company has around 575 full-time and 220 on-call employees.

&uot;Most of our employees are residents of Suffolk and we wanted to give to the Cheer Fund so the money stays in our community,&uot; said Barrett. &uot;This gift is given by our employees, the people who drive the success of QVC. We are proud to be a part of this community effort.&uot;

Barrett and the employees gathered in the QVC Caf, where employees take their lunch breaks, to present their gifts to William E. Ashley, the coordinator of the Cheer Fund for Toys for Tots. They were joined by John Woleben, the coordinator for industry contributions, as they showed off large gift-wrapped boxes overflowing with gifts. The donated toys that overflowed from the collection boxes were spread out throughout the cafeteria.

Trucks from the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, one of many agencies involved in this communitywide effort, picked up the toys from QVC.

Thanks to the generosity of companies, organizations and individuals, the Cheer Fund has reached about half of its $40,000 goal.

Children rob their piggy banks to bring funds to give so that other children might enjoy Christmas morning. Senior citizens can often only give a dollar or two, but like the &uot;widow’s mite&uot; they are most deeply appreciated. The mite was a coin of little value used during Jesus’ lifetime, passing from hand to hand in and around the city of Jerusalem. The poor widow put two of the coins in the offering box. The disciples with Jesus weren’t very impressed, but Jesus said this woman has given more than any other because it was all she had to give. (Mark 12:41-44)

The point is that every dollar given goes directly to the Cheer Fund and each gift, no matter the size, is extremely valuable.

If your company can pick up the challenge issued by QVC, Ciba, Blair Brothers, or any other industry, or individual, please call the News-Herald to set a time to make a photo for publication, or mail contributions to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, 23437.