More toys for more kids

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 7, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Affiliation with the national Marine Corps Toys for Tots program is already paying big dividends for the local program.

According to John Woleben, coordinator of Toys for Tots in Suffolk on behalf of the South Hampton Roads Association of Life Underwriters, he recently was shipped 40 boxes of toys from the national program, which are being housed at the Toys for Tots warehouse between Farm Fresh and Belk in the Suffolk Plaza Shopping Center.

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In addition, thanks to a Marine Corps Toys for Tots deal with Toys-R-Us, the local organization has already amassed more than $600 in credit at Toys-R-Us. Woleben said Toys-R-Us customers have the option when they check out of donating money to Toys for Tots. This is the local program’s first year of affiliation with the national program.

&uot;So it’s already been a big boon to us,&uot; Woleben said.

On Monday morning, Woleben found himself hard at work at the warehouse, where about a dozen Toys for Tots volunteers were busy unloading toys – the first tractor trailer load arrived from Mercy Sales Monday morning – and unloading trucks.

Woleben also noted that financial advisor volunteers were also busy Monday morning picking up toys from local schools. An entire corner of the warehouse was filled with toys from Kilby Shores Elementary, Forest Glen Middle School and Kings Fork Middle School.

And Woleben’s day wasn’t about to be over after loading up toys from Mercy Sales.

By early afternoon, he found himself at Ciba Specialty Chemicals accepting the company’s donation of several bikes to Toys for Tots.

Toys for Tots in Suffolk provides quality toys at Christmas for more than 1,600 needy Suffolk children, referred by the Salvation Army and the Department of Social Services.

The program’s $40,000 budget is funded by the Suffolk Cheer Fund, and administered by the Suffolk News-Herald.

To make a Cheer Fund donation, mail your check to &uot;Cheer Fund,&uot; c/o Suffolk News-Herald, P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, Va. 23439. Donations can also be dropped off at the newspaper office, 130 South Saratoga St., Suffolk, Va. 23434.