Cheer Fund’s effects felt today

Published 12:50 pm Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Police officers helping kids shop for their family. People donating and collecting toys for less fortunate children. Hundreds of individuals and organizations donating to the Cheer Fund, which benefits Toys for Tots.

These and many other selfless acts are seen in Suffolk every single year around Christmastime. Suffolk is a charitable city, and it really shines near the holidays.

We here at the Suffolk News-Herald are privileged to be able to report on many of these charitable acts, and we are especially blessed to be able to spearhead the Cheer Fund’s collection efforts every year.

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Though the people who donated, and even those of us at the paper who collected the donations, will never see its true effects, they will be felt by the child who found a toy under the tree this morning, even though money was a little tight this year. The smile on her face, the light in his eyes, the shouts of joy — we may never see them or hear them, but that doesn’t mean they’re not happening all across the city today, perhaps even as you read this column.

This year started off a little shaky for the Cheer Fund. Whether it was because of the lateness of Thanksgiving, the economy or just general holiday malaise, the collection effort seemed to be going slowly, even though in reality we were only slightly behind the same point last year.

But then, in the past week, so many people really stepped up. Several big donations and a lot of small ones added up to put us within reach of our goal, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.

Even though Christmas is now here and the toys purchased with the Cheer Fund collections have now been distributed, the wholesale toy purchases the Cheer Fund supports are made in July, so each year’s collections support the next year’s purchases. That’s why there’s still time to make a donation even as we move into the new year.

If you didn’t quite get around to dropping that check off at our office, there’s no time like the present. If you got an unexpected gift and feel a desire to reciprocate, a donation to the Cheer Fund in the giver’s honor would be a wonderful choice. If you just want to maximize your charitable tax deductions, we’ll take that too.

Why you give isn’t the issue, and when you give isn’t really, either. Just get us the money some way, and it is guaranteed to go 100 percent toward funding the purchase of toys for needy children right here in Suffolk. Except for an annual required $50 fee to the State Corporation Commission, every penny goes to helping spread Christmas cheer. There are few organizations that can say that these days.

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.