Good year for the Cheer Fund

Published 10:13 pm Monday, February 18, 2013

For some people, February is just too soon to be thinking about Christmas. For the folks involved with the Suffolk News-Herald’s annual Cheer Fund drive, however, February marks the time when they learn how successful the previous year’s fundraising campaign turned out to be.

Ever since the newspaper launched the Cheer Fund sometime during the Great Depression, folks in Suffolk have stepped up to help those who are less fortunate — initially providing money for clothing and food for Suffolk residents and more recently providing money to buy toys for distribution by Suffolk’s Toys for Tots program.

A successful Cheer Fund results in collecting donations sufficient enough to fund the purchase of toys for the following year’s Toys for Tots effort. From another perspective, the Cheer Fund is also successful when community awareness is high about the fund drive and the toy distribution it supports.

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We’re pleased to report that — because of the generosity of the fine people of Suffolk — this year’s Cheer Fund was successful on both accounts. Individuals, families, community organizations, businesses and employees of government agencies in Suffolk joined to give $33,265 to the effort by the time the books were closed on the drive this year. That money will buy a lot of toys next year.

On the other side of the equation, more than 4,250 children in Suffolk received toys on Christmas morning because of the generous donations to the Cheer Fund and to Suffolk’s Toys for Tots. And many hundreds of toys were added to the effort by people who left them in collection containers all around the city. Some businesses even got competitive about the collections, setting up friendly contests to see which could collect the most toys for distribution.

“It was a good campaign this year,” said John Woleben, Suffolk coordinator for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. “The fundraising went well. It was a good year for the kids all around.”

Donations to the Cheer Fund are accepted all year long. To give, mail a check to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439 or bring it to our office, 130 S. Saratoga St., during normal business hours.

Thank you, Suffolk, for your generous support.