ST. CLAIRSVILLE will usher in the holiday season Thursday. The hilltop community is holding its annual Christmas parade and street lighting ceremony that evening.
It will be followed by countless similar pre-Christmas ceremonies across the Ohio Valley.
"The St. Clairsville Holidays on the Hilltop Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting" has one special feature the others do not. A toy drive is being staged in conjunction with the event.
This marks the second year for the St. Clairsville toy drive. It provides local residents the opportunity to make Christmas much brighter for the underprivileged children in the Ohio Valley, which there are a plenty.
The toy campaign is under the direction of the Fraternal Order of Police Associates #13. The group's maiden voyage in the toy solicitation effort netted $2,000 in donations. That is a nice starting point, but we are challenging the Ohio Valley to do better this time around.
Toys can be bought for any aged child, boy or girl, and monetary donations are also welcome to purchase store gift cards for teens.
The charitable undertaking has attracted much community and business support. Belmont County AARP, the Wilson Shannon Questers and the St. Clairsville Area Chamber of Commerce are all shakers and movers in the undertaking.
The St. Clairsville Council of Churches will act as the receiver and distributor of the donations, targeting the neediest families in Belmont County. Last season, the inaugural toy drive aided more than 90 families.
That is a healthy number, but not sufficient enough to help all those in need.
Event organizers are hoping to make this the largest toy drive in Ohio. We have enough faith in local residents for that to happen.
We urge you to attend Thursday's special night in St. Clairsville with a toy in hand.