A fly-in and the Cheer Fund

Published 9:39 pm Thursday, November 3, 2016

Saturday marks the traditional kickoff for the Cheer Fund in Suffolk.

For several years, the Hampton Roads Radio Control Club, which has an airstrip in a field near Lone Star Lakes in Chuckatuck, has hosted a fly-in as a fundraiser and toy drive for Suffolk’s Toys for Tots.

Through the years, the event has raised more than $15,000 and collected thousands of toys for the effort to make sure that all children in Suffolk wake up to new toys on Christmas morning.

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This year’s event, weather permitting, promises to be bigger than ever. There will be dozens of club members present with a huge variety of model airplanes to fly, and visitors can even get a chance to try their aviation skills with the help of a “buddy box” that allows experienced flyers to take control in case of a problem.

Starbucks will provide free coffee, and there will be plenty of other food and drink available for purchase. There will be a candy drop, always a popular event for the kids, and Skydive Suffolk will drop some parachutists into the party. The Nightingale helicopter is expected to arrive at 11 a.m.

This event kicks off three months of fundraising for the Cheer Fund, a program started by this newspaper in the Great Depression to raise money for food and clothing. The Cheer Fund today is the primary means of raising money to buy toys for the Toys for Tots program, which is administered by the Suffolk unit of the Salvation Army.

We have a big goal this year, and we’ve just received an invoice for about $30,000 of toys that will be given away in December. We hope our readers will help, just as they’ve done for more years than anyone can remember.

To give to the Cheer Fund, write a check payable to the Cheer Fund and mail it to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439, or stop by our office at 130 S. Saratoga St. Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Donations can be made in memory of or in honor of a loved one. Just let us know. If you bring your check to the office, we’ll be happy to take your photo making the donation.

Thank you in advance for your help. And be sure to grab the kids and head over to the fly-in on Pembroke Lane in Chuckatuck on Saturday. It’s a guaranteed good time for everyone.