Cheer Fund brought joy to Suffolk

Published 10:30 pm Friday, March 2, 2012

Once again, the community really came through for the children of Suffolk.

Hundreds of kind individuals, organizations and businesses gave from their hearts to support the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund this year. As a result, the fund was able to raise $34,412.35 for the Suffolk Toys for Tots to purchase toys for its toy store.

That money helped purchase gifts to put under the tree for 4,655 local children.


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It can be easy to forget about others in the mad rush at Christmas. Everyone is so busy buying gifts, cooking, cleaning, preparing to travel or to have others visit, finishing things at work before time off, wishing for snow and completing numerous other tasks that sometimes, those people whom the Bible calls the “least of these” get ignored.

The book of Matthew teaches us in chapter 25 to do what we can for “the least of these” — to feed someone who’s hungry, give drink to someone who’s thirsty, invite people into our homes, clothe those who need clothing, and visit people who are sick or in prison.

There’s no reference to buying children toys, but Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas, loved to see children and rebuked his disciples for preventing them from seeing him.

Having covered the Toys for Tots toy store for the last couple of years, I can testify that the people receiving these toys truly are in need. There is no way to stereotype them — they come in all colors, from all areas of the city, single parents and married couples, with one child or several children, with all different reasons for being in need.

They wind through the maze that is the toy store, picking out three gifts for each child. All along the way, they are truly thankful for the generosity of others.

The Cheer Fund is a way to support that effort. The Cheer Fund began many years ago as a way to provide food for needy families. Eventually, that morphed into an effort to raise money for toys. When Toys for Tots came to Suffolk, the two organizations joined forces to help the children of Suffolk even more.

Best of all, every single penny donated to the Cheer Fund goes directly to the children because it is an all-volunteer organization. Necessary professional services are provided pro bono, most notably by attorney Frank Rawls. The newspaper staff takes care of publicity, bookkeeping and other functions. About $50 in required fees to the State Corporation Commission each year is the only overhead cost.

Donations to the Cheer Fund are accepted year-round. To give, send a check made out to the Cheer Fund to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439.