Cheer Fund ‘helps those in need’

Published 8:04 pm Saturday, December 3, 2016

The leader of Suffolk’s Salvation Army Corps knows firsthand what it’s like to be in danger of not having toys under the tree on Christmas morning.

Lt. Johnny Anthony, who with his wife, Capt. Shauntrice Anthony, runs the Salvation Army in Suffolk, was a young child with three siblings being raised by a single mother when he first encountered the Salvation Army.

“She worked hard — two or three jobs,” Anthony said recently about his mother. “But she really didn’t have enough money to make sure we had Christmas.”

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Anthony remembers volunteers from the Salvation Army delivered toys to his home in Hampton. It was a benefit to his mother to know her children were taken care of, he said.

“A lot of parents, they want to give their kids everything they want,” Anthony said. “When they’re not able to do that, that’s another burden they put on themselves.”

The tables have now turned, and the Anthonys and other Salvation Army volunteers are the ones working hard all year long to make sure kids in Suffolk are able to have a good Christmas.

While the Salvation Army provides a number of services, including a soup kitchen, all year long, it is perhaps known for its Christmas services and the ubiquitous red kettles, which raise money for operating expenses.

In Suffolk, the Suffolk News-Herald’s Cheer Fund raises money each year to purchase toys for the Christmas shop, so the Salvation Army can spend its limited budget on other items.

“It helps us year round to save for other programs,” Anthony said. “We thank the Cheer Fund and Toys for Tots for what they do, because the Salvation Army couldn’t do it by ourselves.”

Because of his experience as a child, helping parents give their children a good Christmas is rewarding for Anthony.

“It’s something I know helps those in need, because we were in need,” Anthony said.

This year’s Cheer Fund goal is $30,000.

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.

Online giving is also available. To give using a credit or debit card or your PayPal account, click “Donate Here” at the top of our home page,