Time for some holiday ‘Cheer’

Published 10:48 pm Thursday, November 7, 2013

Now that Halloween and the elections are over, there’s no more need for folks in Suffolk to be afraid. In fact, with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, there’s plenty of reason for them to be full of anticipation for what the season holds in store.

But there are some children and parents in Suffolk for whom the turning of the calendar toward Christmas lacks the hopeful significance it has for most youngsters and their families. For a disheartening number of Suffolk families, Christmas appears likely to come and go without toys under the tree. While there are surely worse things than that happening all around the world, harsh realities are of no comfort to children who see all their friends enjoying their shiny new playthings on Dec. 26.

That’s where the Cheer Fund comes in, and it’s where you can make a real difference in some child’s Christmas.

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The Cheer Fund collects money each year on behalf of Suffolk’s Toys for Tots program. Toys for Tots, in coordination with the Salvation Army and the Suffolk Department of Social Services, buys toys and then distributes them to needy families ahead of Christmas.

The Suffolk News-Herald has operated the Cheer Fund longer than anyone can remember — probably back to the Great Depression, it is believed. The fund is served by a volunteer board of directors, its accounting functions are donated by the newspaper, its legal functions are donated by local attorney Frank Rawls, and the only money spent on anything other than toys goes for a $50 annual fee to the State Corporation Commission.

But none of those people or contributions are what makes the Cheer Fund a success. The Cheer Fund has always been successful because of the faithful support of individuals and organizations throughout Suffolk. We rely on each of you to help us meet our goal each year. This year, that goal is $35,000 — and the Cheer Fund will help provide toys for more than 5,000 children by the time all is said and done.

If you’ve helped make this effort a success in the past, we sincerely thank you, and we humbly ask that you consider a similar donation again this year. If you’ve never supported the Cheer Fund before, there’s no time like the present. We really could use your help making Christmas a bit merrier for underprivileged children in Suffolk.

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.