Third annual Weston Cosey Toy Drive… Not living in the past but continuing to love in the future

Published 7:52 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Weston Cosey was just like many other boys his age. He loved life, he loved God, and he had a contagious smile that spread to others around him.

Unfortunately, a tragic accident took Weston’s life too soon, but his memory still lives on through the love of his family who will be kicking off the third annual Weston Cosey Toy Drive from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday at Harmony Freewill Baptist Church in Hampton.

The toy drive is held in May because Cosey’s birthday is May 23. He would have been 9 years old on Monday.

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“Every year in May we kick off our toy drive in memory of Weston,” said Tammy Allen, Cosey’s grandmother. “We do it in May because May 23 is Weston’s birthday and it helps us get through his birthday. Anyone who has lost a child knows birthdays are hard because you are always wondering how big could he be now, what would he look like, and what would he be doing.

“It is easier for people to give in May because it’s not taking away from the holiday and people’s family. We don’t want to cause any financial strain over the holidays.”

The family and volunteers collect donations throughout the year to be distributed at the holidays. “We take all year long and last year we (gave to) 200-plus children in Weston’s memory,” Allen said. “We tell people that it’s like we are not continuing to live in the past, but we are continuing to love in the future. Weston loved all of his friends and his smile was infectious and this is something that we do to give back to the community in Weston’s honor.”

The toy drive is one of the biggest things the family does in Cosey’s memory, and members also presented mascots to all the youth clubs as well as doing a Valentine’s Day event for Valley Forge Elementary.

Jessica Gryder, Cosey’s aunt, started the toy drive and the event has grown larger as it has become a family event. “It’s a lot of work but we really enjoy it and it just keeps growing larger and larger,” said Allen.

“We encourage people to bargain and clearance shop for children’s toys because at Christmas time they are not going to look at the price on anything,” Allen said. “We remove the tags anyway. Most children are very appreciative and happy to have that gift. We are not particular about anything. Anything that they feel children would want or need or could use, we are appreciative of that. Our goal is to continue to have this toy drive every year. We work with Harmony Freewill Baptist Church and they are a good church family to us.”

Saturday’s toy drive kickoff will feature a bouncy house set up at the church along with face painting, appearances by the mascots, as well as free pizza and drinks for the kids. Marge in Charge will also be making an appearance.

And while it’s still down the road, the family is working to raise funds to construct the Cosey Community Center at the church, to benefit children and the community.

“It’s our way of giving back to the community on Weston’s behalf and sharing the love,” said Allen. “We wouldn’t have been able to lay Weston away if it hadn’t been for the community helping us. Weston went to Harmony and loved Harmony. He planted a prayer cloth for the community center there.”

Cosey’s parents are Heather Allen and Joe Cosey.