Cheer Fund needs your help

Published 8:49 pm Monday, November 9, 2009

“It’s a pretty tough situation around here.”

Those are the words of Salvation Army Maj. Cal Clatterbuck, describing the economic climate in the area. The Salvation Army is one of the partnering agencies with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, which provides toys for children of low-income families.

People wanting to apply to receive toys can apply at the Salvation Army’s office, 400 Bank St., Clatterbuck said. People are screened according to their income, expenses and number of children in the family.

“During this economic downtown, it seems like everybody’s qualified here,” Clatterbuck said. Some applications also come from the school system.

“The need is great this year,” Clatterbuck said. “It’s tremendous. People are desperate. They’re almost going to have to forfeit Christmas.”

Though Clatterbuck said he is seeing an increasing amount of people struggling, he also is seeing people stepping forward like never before.

“I have been a lot of places, even overseas,” Clatterbuck said. “I have never witnessed such an outpouring of generosity as I have in Suffolk. They just step forward and help their people, and not only at Christmas time.”

The Toys for Tots program needs donations of toys, money and volunteers like never before to ensure every child has fond memories of Christmas 2009.

“We’re having to step forward with this Christmas,” Clatterbuck said.

Volunteers can call 539-5201 to sign up to volunteer at the Toy Shop, where qualifying people pick out the toys for their children.

People who want to donate toys can call 478-3222 or e-mail jmwoleben@earthlink.net. Toy distribution in Suffolk begins Dec. 14, so people who want to make a donation of toys should do so before that date.

People who wish to donate cash, however, have an even more convenient option. Since its inception more than 40 years ago, the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund has helped thousands of Suffolk children celebrate a brighter Christmas. The Cheer Fund collects cash donations from the community and gives the money to Toys for Tots, to help purchase toys for Suffolk children.

Checks may be made out to the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund, P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23434, or bring contributions to 130 S. Saratoga St.