Individual donations ‘essential’ for Cheer Fund

Published 7:34 pm Saturday, November 24, 2012

Individual donations to the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund account for more than half of giving each year, so individuals are encouraged to get their donations in as soon as possible.

“Individual gifts are absolutely essential to our meeting the goal,” said Frank Rawls, who is on the board of the Cheer Fund. “It clearly is extraordinarily important.”

The Cheer Fund raises money for Suffolk’s Toys for Tots, which annually provides toys to thousands of children who otherwise may not have anything under the tree on Christmas Day. Last year’s total raised — $34,412.35 — provided toys for 4,655 local children. In 2010, more than 5,000 children received toys.

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Each year, hundreds of individuals, groups, businesses, churches, charities and foundations donate to the fund, which is run by the newspaper. The fund has no overhead because bookkeeping and publicity are provided by newspaper staff. A board of local businesspeople oversees the fund.

While Rawls said the Cheer Fund certainly appreciates the businesses, foundations and clubs that make large donations, smaller checks from individuals, couples and families add up to far more.

“My guess is it’s going to be that individual gifts are two-thirds or more,” he said, an estimate that was pretty close to accurate when the numbers were tallied. “It’s the churches’ and the neighborhoods’ responsibility to look after their own. To whom much has been given, much is required.”

To donate to the Cheer Fund, send a check to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439 or bring it to our office, 130 S. Saratoga St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We will list your donation in the newspaper, but it can be marked “anonymous” if you like. Donations may be made in honor of or in memory of someone. If you bring the check to our office, we’ll even take your picture as you hand it to one of our staff.

For more information on the Cheer Fund, call 934-9616.