Please give generously to Cheer Fund

Published 9:25 pm Monday, November 11, 2013

Every November and December, it is my privilege to help the Suffolk News-Herald in its annual push to collect money for the Cheer Fund.

The fund, which was started by the paper during the Great Depression, now helps purchase toys that will provide a cheerful Christmas morning for about 5,000 Suffolk children from low-income families. The money generated by the Cheer Fund is given to the Toys for Tots campaign and funds the purchase of a variety of toys for girls and boys ages newborn on up.

Since the Cheer Fund’s genesis, Suffolk individuals and groups have generously given hundreds of thousands of dollars to support their neighbors. In the past seven years, I have met many of these people through various Cheer Fund functions, either while smiling for the camera as they drop off their check or visiting their workplace to take a photo to kick off the drive.

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My favorite thing to cover during every Christmas season is the Toys for Tots store, where parents come to choose the toys their children will receive. The gratitude they exhibit to the volunteers and the unseen people who helped buy the gifts speaks volumes.

In the midst of a holiday season where Americans, in particular, are often criticized for allowing a religious observance to be overrun by crass consumerism, the Cheer Fund, Toys for Tots and similar efforts provide hope — hope that people can be good, that they still care about their neighbors and that even those who aren’t rich materially can make themselves rich in spirit by giving to those around them.

As Cheer Fund board member Frank Rawls put it recently, “It’s a blessing to be able to give to those who need it. Even if we don’t have a whole lot according to American standards, we still live like kings and queens compared to many people.”

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.