Relying on Suffolk’s generosity

Published 10:39 pm Thursday, December 1, 2011

With the turn of another page of the calendar, December has shown November the door, sending along all the gluttony and greed of Thanksgiving and Black Friday and inviting the cold winter air into the room to help clear our minds in the wake of that excess, helping us to re-frame our focus on the important things as we head into the Christmas season.

Now that the bird has been digested and extended family members have gone home, there’s time to recall that this is a season of joy, time to remember the simple blessing of receiving a gift and the somewhat more complex blessing of giving one.

Most of us learn as youngsters how much fun it is to unwrap a new toy. That feeling of excitement might be tempered with age, but the right gift can still put a twinkle in the eye of even the oldest recipient. And for many of us, the advancing years teach us to trade the joy of receiving for the joy of giving.

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Unfortunately a growing number of children in Suffolk are in a position to know neither of those joys this year. For a heartbreaking number of Suffolk children, there will be no special new toy under the tree on Christmas Day. The poor economy continues to victimize families everywhere. And at this time of year, such economic conditions can steal the joy from the children in those families, as well as from the parents who find themselves unable to provide Christmas gifts.

That’s why the Suffolk News-Herald partners with the community each year on the Cheer Fund, whose purpose is to raise money to be used to buy toys for distribution to children in Suffolk and the surrounding area. For more than 70 years, the Cheer Fund has been helping families recall the joy of the season. Last year, more than 5,260 children received toys because of the money raised through this effort.

But we cannot do it without your help. The Cheer Fund’s goal this year is $40,000, and donations have been a bit slow at the start. Each year, we are amazed at the generosity of the people of Suffolk. We know we will not be disappointed this year.

If you would like to donate to the Cheer Fund and help bring back Christmas joy for needy Suffolk families, please write a check to the Cheer Fund and send it to the Suffolk News-Herald, P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439.

A gracious act of kindness would be a great way to kick off December.