Cheer-ful spending for the holidays

Published 11:40 pm Friday, December 14, 2018

Volunteers from the Salvation Army, Suffolk’s Department of Social Services and the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund board purchased hundreds of toys for girls and boys on Friday at the Walmart on North Main Street.

They loaded carts with Nerf guns, video games, art supplies, action figures and more, thanks to a $10,000 appropriation from the Suffolk Cheer Fund. Every year, the fund spends tens of thousands of dollars purchasing toys for thousands of Suffolk children, which are distributed to needy families by the Salvation Army.

As of Friday, $29,703 has been raised for the Cheer Fund at an even better pace than last year.

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Typically, Cheer Fund toys are ordered earlier in the year from a toy supplier, and Cheer Fund money pays for that. That was done again this year, but after a few years of exceeding the goal, the Cheer Fund board decided to use an additional $10,000 this year to make sure that there was enough for children ages 9 to 12 — and decided to use the money at a store in town.

“That’s the group that tends to get left out the most,” said Salvation Army Corps Capt. Shauntrice Anthony. “We’re spending $10,000 just on that group to make sure they get good, quality toys this year.”

Distributions will take place Monday through Wednesday at the Salvation Army on Bank Street. Each child will get four toys, stockings, dolls, stuffed animal and a board game for the whole family.

Salvation Army driver and volunteer Esha Chaulk walked through the aisles on Friday looking for toys fit for boys and came up with radio-control cars, action figures and more.

Chaulk is a mother of four and a grandmother of one, and she understands how important it is to guarantee that there’s a Christmas morning for every child.

“This would be such a blessing for my children if they were younger,” she said as she pushed another full shopping cart. “That’s the wonderful thing about doing this. You see a lot of the families that you get to help. You see the excitement in them. That their children were able to get (presents) this year.”