Help provide them some cheer

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 3, 2006

It seems just like yesterday, when in actuality it was almost 20 years ago, when I remember wondering if I was going to have a Christmas one year. My dad quit working around Thanksgiving due to health issues. His inability to work and earn a check caused problems for us, as both my parents lacked a high school education and their opportunities to earn money were slim.

The times were difficult, and we lived on what we needed, not what we wanted. It became harder as Christmas drew closer as the money began to run out. Spam and Salmon patties soon became a delicatessen. The best toy I had that year was a pet frog that I made friends with while playing outside for hours on end.

This year in particular, I can recall the first time I knew desperate times. My dad, who earned a decent living for years, couldn’t provide for us. There were greater concerns, but all I cared about was Christmas. To me, that was the measure of whether we were rich or poor. I never received lots of presents, but just getting something was vital to my adolescent livelihood.

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I realized that there is more to Christmas than just toys and games. Thanks to other people who donated gifts and money — I had a Christmas that year. The gifts were plenty, more than I had ever received. The gifts also came in the form of food and clothes, all items that were needed.

I can’t remember exactly what I got, but the lesson learned is one that still lives with me today. I learned there are good people in this world who want to help others. So I wanted to return the favor when I grew up.

Now that chance is here. We currently are soliciting donations for the Cheer Fund, which the News-Herald has sponsored since the early 1930s. We are far away from our goal and need your help. Just remember that when you make a donation or bring a gift you are helping people like me. You are helping people who at some point in their life needed a smile. Your gift could make a lasting impression on a young persons mind.

Last year more than 2,900 children received toys as a result of the Cheer Fund. That’s a lot of lives being changed and a lot of smiles.

Suffolk is a giving community and I’m sure that you will come to the rescue for this mission to make sure every child in Suffolk has a great Christmas and receives some Christmas cheer.

If you plan to make a donation, let us know. We’d like to take your picture and publish it in the newspaper. Call us at 539-3437 and let us know when and where we can take a picture or you can come by our office.

Please send your checks payable to the Cheer Fund to the Suffolk News-Herald, P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, Va. 23434 or drop them and toy donations off at the office, 130 S. Saratoga St.

Lindsey is the publisher of the News-Herald. Contact him at, or call 934-9611.