Cheer Fund raised more than $34,000

Published 7:49 pm Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund raised more than $34,000 this year, helping to put toys under the tree for 4,655 local children.

The money raised by the Cheer Fund — exactly $34,412.35 — goes directly to Suffolk Toys for Tots to help purchase the toys that go into its toy store.

The total number of children served was down from last year, when more than 5,000 children received toys through Toys for Tots.

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“Maybe the economy’s getting a little bit better,” said John Woleben, coordinator for Suffolk Toys for Tots.

He said the money raised helped many children have a Christmas gift who otherwise may not have received one.

“You don’t want any child to not have a toy at Christmas time,” he said. “To the best of my knowledge, anybody that needed one got one. That’s really what it’s all about.”

Donations came to the Cheer Fund from hundreds of local residents, organizations and businesses. They came in memory or in honor of loved ones, friends and even pets.

Several donations came in memory of one particular business owner who died just before Christmas.

John C. Holland Jr. died of bacterial meningitis in December, and his family requested donations to Toys for Tots in his memory.

Woleben said about $1,250 in donations were listed in memory of Holland.

In addition, the Marine Corps Foundation provided its biggest donation ever to Toys for Tots, giving more than $10,000.

“We did receive some real nice donations throughout the season for Toys for Tots,” Woleben said.

Donations for the Cheer Fund are accepted year-round. All donations that come in after the holiday season are used for the next year. To give, write a check payable to the Cheer Fund and mail it to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439.