The 5th annual Operation Toy Lift keeps the Christmas spirit alive in Ohio Valley

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ST. CLAIRSVILLE, OHIO (WTRF) They are raising hope for kids in the Ohio Valley. The Wheeling Police Department and the Belmont County Sheriff Department are back for another year of Operation Toy Lift. 

To kick off the event, A parade escort led Santa Claus around the mall and to the bucket truck. 

7News’ very own Steve Moore joined in the fun and took a turn up in the bucket, waving and guiding in cars to participate. 

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger says this year they have more volunteers and sponsors helping than ever. He says since the start of the event, cars have been coming non-stop to donate. 

It’s a way for law enforcement and many other community agencies, and when I talk about the volunteers, it’s just people coming out of the woodwork who want to help because it is important. As a community we all need to come together, and all recognize that there are some people in our community who are maybe less fortunate than others. If we can help lift them up, especially during the holidays, that’s what it’s all about.

Chief Shawn Schwertfeger, Wheeling Police Department

Chief Schwertfeger says community members could not wait to donate, some toys were brought to the station early yesterday and they also received about $700 from two different organizations. Chief Schwertfeger says it is amazing the impact we make when we work together.  

The partnership between the Wheeling Police Department and the Belmont Count Sheriff’s office allows children in both West Virginia and Ohio to toys this holiday season.  

Belmont County Sheriff David Lucas says each year the number of toys they collect increases.

I’ve seen over the last several years how the generosity has grown. We take everything to our substation here and United Way comes in and distributes them. Our substation is literally packed wall to wall, and this is what it’s about, you know it’s about giving.

Sheriff David Lucas, Belmont County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Lucas says it always puts a smile on his face to see families come back each year and contribute to the cause. 

They are definitely having a jolly good time out here. The community members, businesses, and volunteers that are helping today are keeping that Christmas Spirt alive.  

The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley will distribute the toys collected and both Chief Schwertfeger and Sheriff Lucas says they have no doubt there will have plenty to give back to those in need. 

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