Wal-Mart donates #036;3,500

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 21, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Christmas came early to the Suffolk Cheer Fund, thanks to Wal-Mart’s gift of $3,500.

Officials from the Suffolk Wal-Mart, on North Main Street in Suffolk, presented the check to Cheer Fund on Friday, making this one of the largest donations the charity has ever received.

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&uot;We are thrilled with Wal-Mart’s support,&uot; said Frank Rawls, chairman of the Cheer Fund board. &uot;This throws down the gauntlet for other companies to step forward and help the needy children of our community.&uot;

All money raised through the Suffolk New-Herald’s annual holiday fund-raising campaign is earmarked for the Toys for Tots program. Sponsored by the South Hampton Roads Association of Financial Advisors, the program will provide toys for more than 1,600 underprivileged children in Suffolk this holiday season.

Just a week into the fundraiser, the Cheer Fund has raised $5,150 of this year’s $40,000 goal.

&uot;I’m confident the community will do everything it can to help us meet our goal in 2004,&uot; said Rawls. &uot;Christmas morning would not be the same for many children in Suffolk, were it not for the generosity of people and businesses like Wal-Mart.&uot;

During his years in Suffolk, Wal-Mart manager Sam Wiggs has seen the difference that the Cheer Fund has made in the lives of Suffolk children.

&uot;We have worked with the Cheer Fund in the past, helping needy families and children,&uot; Wiggs said. &uot;We really believe in things of that nature and this summer, when this holiday grant became available, my first thought went to the Cheer Fund.&uot;

Wiggs is hopeful his company’s contribution will set the tone for corporate giving to the Cheer Fund.

&uot;We would challenge any other business out there to do just as much or more than we have.&uot;

Other contributions received through the end of the week:

-Busy Bee Beautification Garden Club, $25

-Bennett’s Creek Nursery, Wayne K. Sawyer, $300

-Suffolk Alignment and Automotive Specialists Inc., $100

-Butler Paper Recycling Inc., $125

-Alma C. Duke, $100, in memory of Ray E. Duke

Last week, the Bennett Trust gave the Cheer Fund a $1,000 start.

Meanwhile, over the next few weeks, volunteers are collecting donated toys from area businesses, public and private schools, daycare centers and churches, said John M. Woleban, chairman of the Suffolk Toys for Tots campaign.

All of those toys – along with those purchased through funds generated by the Cheer Fund – will be used to benefit children in Suffolk. The program has already received some contributions of unopened toys from groups or individuals, Woleban said.

Anyone wishing to make a tax-deductible contribution can send it to the Suffolk Cheer Fund, C/O The Suffolk News-Herald, 130 S. Saratoga St., Suffolk, Va. 23434