Cheer Fund donations ramp up

Published 7:28 pm Saturday, November 26, 2016

Now that the turkey leftovers are dwindling and Christmas trees are being decorated, it’s time to start thinking about putting the Suffolk Cheer Fund on your Christmas list.

Every Christmas, thousands of children in Suffolk would not have toys under the tree if it weren’t for the Suffolk Cheer Fund.

The Cheer Fund collects money for the Toys for Tots program, which purchases and distributes thousands of toys to ensure the Christmas cheer spreads Suffolk-wide every Dec. 25.

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The Cheer Fund started during the Great Depression to provide clothes and food for needy families. It eventually began providing toys for children and teamed up with the Toys for Tots program.

The Cheer Fund always has a goal of helping as many children as possible, so the generous support of the community is needed to make dreams become a reality.

There are many reasons to give to the Cheer Fund, and head elf Margie Wiley can list them all.

“Sometimes, it’s just easier than going out shopping,” Wiley said. “You can let somebody else do the shopping for you.”

While many people enjoy shopping for toys, money given to the Cheer Fund goes farther, because toys are purchased in bulk at a discount.

Wiley said many people may not realize the level of need in the city.

“Your neighbor or the person you go to church with, you see them every day, but you don’t know what’s going on at home,” she said. “We see the expansion going on, which is wonderful, but you don’t realize the magnitude within the city of people that don’t have enough to buy toys for their children. Without the Toys for Tots, those kids would never get a toy like that.”

All money given to the Cheer Fund stays in Suffolk.

“It’s even better when you send it to the local organization, because we can make sure it stays here,” Wiley said.

One hundred percent of the money given to the Cheer Fund goes toward purchasing toys. There is no overhead, because newspaper employees take care of the publicity and bookkeeping, and local professionals donate their talents for needed services.

Wiley said the ability for parents to come to the Salvation Army in early December and shop for the toys they will receive for their children gives them a sense of accomplishment.

“It’s a sense of pride,” she said.

For those who still need an incentive, a donation to the Cheer Fund is tax-deductible.

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.

Donations for the Cheer Fund are accepted year-round. 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 at 130 S. Saratoga St. Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.