Toy Lift Delivers Smiles

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

December 11, 2005

This year's toy lift is officially over and despite the bad weather during the collection, many local kids will have presents under the tree.

Toy Lift 2005 isn't just collecting gifts. They need to be sorted, cataloged, picked through, and finally distributed.

"Over basically a day and a half we can bring in, ship, box and do the whole thing 2,304 children," said Mack Tate, the Toy Lift's Shipping Manager.

All this hard work requires volunteers. Sunday's heroes are the bus drivers who gave up their weekend to distribute the toys. Lamar Lewis drives for Albemarle County and has been working the toy lift for seven years.

"Today in this world, it's bad enough how it is with the tsunami and the hurricanes and I'm just blessed with what I've got so I just want to give myself to somebody else," said Lewis.

The toy lift had the elements fighting against it from cold weather to icy roads--but that didn't stop people from coming out to donate.

"I won't say we did better as far as collection with the weather on Friday, that put us down, but there were a lot of folks who came through at the last minute with some cash donations and that kind of thing that helped us buy the rest of the bikes," said Tate.

Over 325 to be exact. In fact this is the largest non-profit toy give-away in the area.

"I think we did great. 2,304 is the most children that I remember of the years that we've had and so far we've managed to get them all out by 1:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon," said Tate.

Organizers say they will have the 19th annual toy lift at the same time next year.

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