The Ohio Valley Mall parking lot was packed Saturday.
Not only with shoppers crossing items off their own lists, but also with Operation Toy Lift. Local celebrities went up in a bucket truck to yell down and encourage everyone on the ground to donate a toy.
People came in droves to drop off something special for children this Christmas. It was a smooth operation; cars would come through and hand a toy out the window to volunteers who would pack them into a truck.
“It was a little chilly up there. But we’ve got a lot of people coming in here today,” said Job & Family Services Executive Director Vince Gianangeli. “And they’re bringing so many toys. And I was on the intercom and I was telling them to come on in, bring a toy for a kid. We want every child to have a toy.”
“Well the response has been amazing,” Macy’s Manager Jennifer Prietsch said. “On such, you know, putting it together in two weeks, to get so many people to come out in the community has been beyond what we could have expected.”
“The turnout and the people giving, the toys and what they’re giving towards us is awesome. I can’t say more thanks. This is our first year. We’re going to be back next year,” said Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas. “So I’m excited.”
The event was all day from 8 a.m. To 4 p.m. And they received dozens of bicycles and filled at least two trucks with toys of all kinds.
Some people donated money, urging the volunteers to buy for whatever age group still needed toys. The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley will distribute the toys to children at local hospitals and many other children in need.
It was the idea of Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger who was there on the front lines volunteering all day.