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Cheer Fund needed more than ever

The time of year where the Suffolk News-Herald asks for donations for the Cheer Fund has rolled around once again.

However, this year is quite different from most.

The Cheer Fund was an effort started by the Suffolk News-Herald in the 1930s to collect money. In its early years, the money was distributed to the Salvation Army for food baskets for the poor. Eventually, it switched to providing toys for children in Suffolk.

This year, for the first time in its history, the Cheer Fund is asking for money during a worldwide pandemic that has fundamentally changed life in just about every way, both worldwide and for all of us in Suffolk — donors and recipients alike.

There have been times of turmoil before, but nothing quite like this. This year has brought economic upheaval, political turmoil and racial unrest all against the backdrop of more than a quarter of a million Americans dying from an unseen enemy. Millions have been left behind to grieve their loss. Millions more have become ill and recovered, but with lasting physical and emotional side effects they will carry with them the rest of their lives.

The very real effects of this virus and all it has wrought here in Suffolk mean many people may be in the position of asking for help who have never asked for help before. And that’s where the Cheer Fund comes in.

By buying toys for underprivileged children right here in Suffolk, the Cheer Fund can help your neighbors have a Christmas with presents under the tree. After all we have dealt with this year, your donations are needed more than ever before.

All of the needs for the fund are provided by newspaper staff and by accounting and law professionals in the community pro bono, meaning every dollar donated to the fund helps purchase a toy for a child in need.

The Cheer Fund provides approximately $40,000 to the Salvation Army for toy purchases every year.

To donate to the Cheer Fund, send a check to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439 or bring it to the newspaper’s temporary office, 157 N. Main St., from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. We will list your donation in the newspaper, but it can be marked “anonymous” if you like. Donations may be made in honor of or in memory of someone. If you bring the check to our office, we’ll even take your picture as you hand it to one of our staff.

Online giving is available through the link on the Suffolk Cheer Fund Facebook page. For more information on the Cheer Fund, call 757-539-3437.