‘Trying to help families’

Published 6:35 pm Friday, December 3, 2021

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Importance of Cheer Fund emphasized

Vanessa Hicks has been volunteering with the Salvation Army off and on since 2012.

“Wherever they need me, that’s where I try to be,” she said.

She mostly volunteers with the feeding program on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, another of her favorite things to help with is the Christmas programs at the Salvation Army.

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“We try to go all out to make sure they have joy and happiness,” she said. “The toys that we give will go to kids that maybe their parents couldn’t afford toys or clothes and things for them. On Christmas morning, they will wake up, and we try to make sure they have something to be surprised about.”

Hicks said the Christmas programs really help struggling families with their children.

“In these times now when you’re paying rent and everything else it takes to live, the parents may not be able to purchase toys and things for the kids,” she said. “We’re trying to help families.”

The Salvation Army has an assortment of Christmas programs designed to help families and seniors in need. To help give out toys, one of its biggest partners is the Suffolk News-Herald Cheer Fund.

The Cheer Fund was started by the newspaper 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 and the Salvation Army.

These days, this program of the newspaper is its own nonprofit, with an independent board, and each year collects roughly $40,000 from individuals, groups and foundations in the community. This money goes directly to the purchase of toys by the Salvation Army.

To donate to the Cheer Fund, send a check to P.O. Box 1220, Suffolk, VA 23439 or bring it to the newspaper office, 157 N. Main St., from 9 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.