Toys for Christmas

Published 8:27 pm Monday, December 22, 2014

The Suffolk News-Herald’s Cheer Fund has hit the halfway mark, and we could not be more appreciative of the generosity of the individuals, families, businesses, churches and civic organizations that have helped get us to that point.

With a goal of $35,000 this year, the Cheer Fund reached beyond the $18,000 level during the weekend. A couple of big donations received on Monday, which have yet to be factored into the total, will bring the campaign to about two-thirds complete.

Suffolk’s wonderfully generous people have always helped the News-Herald reach its Cheer Fund goals, and we have no reason to doubt they’ll do so again this year.

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The Cheer Fund was started by the Suffolk News-Herald sometime last century — during the Great Depression, it is believed — and initially provided money for clothing and food for needy Suffolk residents.

Over time, its mission changed to provide money to purchase toys for children who might otherwise find nothing under the tree on Christmas morning.

Money raised through the effort goes directly to the Toys for Tots organization, which purchases and distributes toys to families of boys and girls in Suffolk.

Each year, in addition to the many toys that are donated to the Toys for Tots effort in Suffolk, and in addition to the checks written directly to that organization, the Cheer Fund contributes anywhere from $25,000 to $35,000 toward the purchase of toys from wholesale suppliers for distribution along with the others.

The Cheer Fund is an all-volunteer organization. Necessary professional services are provided pro bono, and the newspaper staff does the publicity, bookkeeping and other functions. The only expense the Cheer Fund has is about $50 in required fees to the State Corporation Commission each year. All other donated funds go toward the purchase of toys.

Since the money the Cheer Fund is raising now goes toward next year’s toy purchase, there’s still time to help with the effort. 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’ll close at 2 p.m. Christmas Eve and will remain closed on Christmas Day.

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.

Thank you again, Suffolk, for your kindness and generosity in helping to make sure that kids all around the city have toys for Christmas.