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Operation Toy Lift Returns Saturday at Ohio Valley Mall

File Photo - Operation Toy Lift, a project of the Wheeling Police Department and Belmont County Sheriff’s Office, will be held for a fifth year this Saturday in the parking lot across from Ferguson’s House of Furniture at the Ohio Valley Mall.

“Operation Toy Lift” is back for a fifth year to help provide Ohio Valley residents the chance to help provide Christmas gifts for children in need throughout the region.

The Wheeling Police Department and Belmont County Sheriff’s Office will hold the event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., collecting toys for everyone from infants to teenagers, in the parking lot across from Ferguson’s House of Furniture. The event will begin with a small parade around the mall and Santa’s arrival at the Toy Lift site. Donations can be dropped off at the site after that until 4 p.m.

“Every year Operation Toy Lift gets bigger, better and more exciting,” said Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger. “Considering how many children’s lives have been touched by simply joining forces is heartwarming. I am so proud of everyone involved and look forward to another successful event.”

Throughout the day, special members of the community will help “Operation Toy Lift” live up to its name, grabbing the public’s attention from the roadway in the “Toy Lift.” Since the event’s launch in 2017, thousands of local children have enjoyed a brighter Christmas season thanks to the combined efforts of the two law enforcement agencies and various community groups.

Even in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, “Operation Toy Lift” stayed strong and continued its mission of assisting in creating happier holiday memories.

The Belmont County Sheriff’s Office is crucial in the site preparation and set up, and the office’s Ohio Valley Mall substation also serves as the planning, storage and distribution site for the event.

“This is one of the premier events for our office during the holiday season,” Belmont County Sheriff Dave Lucas said. “The people of the Ohio Valley have been so generous in ensuring that all children can enjoy a meaningful Christmas. Operation Toy Lift attracts a lot of support and is a chance for law enforcement from both sides of the river to create a successful event.”

At the event’s conclusion, the toys will be distributed to those in need through the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley. Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation can write a check to the United Way for the Upper Ohio Valley and write “Toy Lift” in the memo line.

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