Cheer Fund helps 5,160

Published 2:59 pm Friday, December 31, 2010

The Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund continues to purchase toys for more and more children every year.

This year, 5,160 children received toys under the tree on Christmas Day through the generous support of individuals, businesses, churches and organizations who donated to the Cheer Fund.

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“We’re glad that we could serve so many people and that we had enough toys to take care of all these children,” said John Woleben, Toys for Tots coordinator in Suffolk.

Last year, the total number of children who received a toy was only a handful short of 5,000. The number grew only about 3.4 percent from 2009, which saw an increase of nearly 25 percent from 2008.

“It was not quite as many more as I thought it might be,” Woleben said.

The Cheer Fund was started in the 1940s to help every child in Suffolk get a toy at Christmas. After operating for many years on its own, the Cheer Fund joined forces with Toys for Tots several years ago. Today, a volunteer board of directors administers the fund, invests the money and disperses it to Suffolk Toys for Tots.

As of last week, the Cheer Fund totaled a little more than $31,000, despite getting off to a slow start at the beginning of the season. However, it still is short of its $45,000 goal.

It’s not too late to donate to the Cheer Fund. Send a check to Cheer Fund, P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439-1220, or bring a check to our office at 130 S. Saratoga St.

“The Toys for Tots Foundation’s motto is, ‘A toy for every child,’” Woleben said. “We would not want a child to wake up in Suffolk and not have a present under the tree.”