Cheer Fund total keeps climbing

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 5, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

The tractor-trailers weren’t pulled into town by eight tiny reindeer.

And the five middle-aged men hauling boxes of toys into the vacant storefront at a local shopping center weren’t elves.

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But the men – all members of the South Hampton Roads Association of Financial Advisors – certainly deserve honorary elf status.

Just as it has for nearly four decades, the organization is sponsoring the city’s Toys For Tots campaign. This year, thanks to the generosity of countless Suffolk residents, businesses and organizations, more than 1,700 underprivileged children will wake up Christmas morn to plenty of holiday gifts.

All proceeds from the Cheer Fund, the Suffolk’s News-Herald’s annual holiday fundraising campaign, are earmarked for Toys for Tots.

Dozens of people and businesses have made contributions totaling $8,885 to this year’s fund drive, each one helping push the newspaper closer to its $40,000 goal, said Frank Rawls, chairman of the fund board.

Contributions received this week include:

Hu, Billy and Shea, $100, in loving memory of Miss Hattie Jones

Mr. and Mrs. W.J. Spain Jr., $200, in loving memory of our family

LaMercett Nurses Organization, $25, in memory of Alma Boone and Catherine Cooper

Lake Kennedy Civic League, $50

Anonymous, $500

Harvey M. Diggs Jr. and Joyce J. Diggs, $25, in memory of our deceased family members

Linda H. and Gene D. Shannon, $50

David Rawls Electrical, $50

Sentry Services, $100

Producers Peanut Co. Inc.,$150

J. Walter Hosier & Son Inc., $100

The Cheer Fund pays for about 50 percent of the toys distributed by the group annually, said Bill Ashley, who coordinated the project in Suffolk

since its beginning. Although he

stepped down this year and turned the chairman’s reins over to

John M. Woleban, Ashley still helps out with the project.

This week, Woleburn said, volunteers will be collecting other toys, many of which are donated by area businesses, public and private schools, daycare centers and churches.

After that, volunteers will begin sorting out the thousands of toys by age and gender, preparing them for recipients who have been referred by the city’s Department of Social Services. The toys will be picked up later this month, Woleburn 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