Black Friday and the Cheer Fund

Published 9:06 pm Friday, November 29, 2013

With Black Friday’s profits inked in their ledgers, retailers around the area are setting their sights on making the best of a short holiday season. With just 26 days until Christmas, the pressure is on to make the most of the shopping days that remain in 2013.

The trend of extending the traditional kickoff of the holiday retail season from the Friday after Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving itself — complete with “doorbuster” deals and lines of impatient shoppers — offers evidence of just how important this time of year is to American retailers.

It’s also important to the Cheer Fund.

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The Cheer Fund collects money each year, and the money is used to purchase toys for Suffolk’s Toys for Tots program. Volunteers serve on the board, and the Suffolk News-Herald handles publicity and bookkeeping, so there are no overhead costs. The funds raised by the effort helped Toys for Tots in Suffolk provide toys for more than 5,000 children in the city last year, and organizers expect a similar number to be served this year.

It is the nature of the Cheer Fund program for folks to become engaged with it during the peak of the Christmas season. Aside from the volunteers who perform its administrative duties, most people don’t seem to give it much thought from mid-January until Thanksgiving. So Black Friday marks a major milestone on the calendar for this nonprofit effort, much as it does for Suffolk’s small and large retailers.

The fundraising goal for the Cheer Fund this year is $35,000, and we are confident the kind folks of Suffolk will come through generously as they have done every year since the annual drive began as a way to collect clothing and food for the poor during the Great Depression.

In fact, in the lingering spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, we’d like to say “Thank you” in advance for your support. Thousands of children around the city will have a merrier Christmas because of it.

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.