Cheer Fund Christmas tree

Published 8:51 pm Monday, December 7, 2015

Many of you may have noticed that we launched a new feature on the front page of Sunday’s paper — the Cheer Fund Christmas Tree.

The tree will serve as a frequent reminder of the progress the Suffolk News-Herald has made toward its 2015 goal of raising $40,000 for the Cheer Fund. As you can see below, prior to Monday’s donations having been processed, we’re about one-eighth of the way to that goal. In other words, there’s a long way to go.

Nobody’s quite sure when the Cheer Fund was launched, but we know it was started by this newspaper sometime during the Great Depression, when it served to encourage donations of clothing and food for people who were suffering from the harsh economic situation. Somewhere along the way — again, we’re not quite sure when — the Cheer Fund changed into a toy drive for Christmas, supporting Suffolk’s Toys for Tots program.

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Today, the Cheer Fund is the primary means of financial support for Toys for Tots in Suffolk, and every penny donated to the Cheer Fund is used to buy toys. And every penny is used to help people right here in Suffolk. All administrative duties and costs are donated by the Suffolk News-Herald and Suffolk attorney Frank Rawls, who serves on the organization’s board of directors. You’d be hard-pressed to find a charity that treats its donations so efficiently.

Take another look at that tree. We’d love to fill in all the decorations. Can you help?

Cheer Fund donations are printed in the Suffolk News-Herald and can be made in honor of or in memory of a loved one. The donor can be listed anonymously if he chooses. The donor can also have his photograph taken giving the check to be published in the newspaper.

To give, write a check payable to the Cheer Fund and mail it to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439, or stop by our office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Thanks in advance for your generosity. And keep an eye out for the tree in coming editions to see where we stand with collections.