Donations needed for toy drive held in memory of local boy
Published 1:14 pm Friday, December 2, 2022
Weston Scott Cosey was only 6 when he died Nov. 10, 2019.
Born to Joe Cosey and Heather Allen, Weston was in the first grade at Valley Forge Elementary School, where he played basketball with the Valley Forge Eagles. He loved motor cross racing and his friends.
His obituary stated that “Weston loved to make people laugh and lived life with no fear. He loved to fish, go to the drag strip with his dad and loved his Mohawk haircut.” The little man was a member of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church.
Though Weston was only 6 when his life on earth ended, citizens far and away honored him with events and fundraisers.
“He definitely was [a light] and he had so many friends throughout Carter County,” his aunt, Jessica Gryder, said. “And sometimes people don’t think about what the kids are going through [after the death of a friend].”
The family heard that one boy at school didn’t eat properly at school for weeks after Weston’s death. “We found out later it was because Weston, his best friend, always typed in his lunch code for him cause he didn’t remember it,” Gryder said.
That speaks of the kind of friend Weston was.
His family was moved by the kind thoughtfulness of people during the family’s time of grief. Instead of closing ranks and keeping their memories close to their hearts, they opened their arms wide to reach children out there who might need a helping hand.
“We just want to be like Weston in everything we do and glorify God in process,” Gryder said. “… We just try to give back to the kids in his memory. That’s what he would’ve wanted.”
The family created the Weston Cosey Memorial Toy Drive, among others, after the loss of Weston three years ago. “We lost him in 2019 in a dirt bike accident,” said Gryder. “His family started the toy drive in memory of Weston. If we could just put one smile on a child’s face in his memory at Christmas … [well,] that was our goal.”
Khristina Hicks Cardwell taught Weston at church. “I had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know Weston and his brother Jordan Cosey when their ‘Uncle Cod’ Cody Marlow brought them to church,” she said. “They were in my Sunday School class and our Children’s Church. Weston loved church and especially loved learning about Jesus. He was very intrigued as to the way Jesus helped everyone.
“I also got to spend time with Weston outside of church and he was such a warm, caring, happy little boy who was always laughing or snickering about something. However, he didn’t like to see anyone sad and would do anything in his little boy power to turn your frown upside down and get you to smile.”
Cardwell said that Weston comes from a family with “a very strong work ethic and not ones who are prone to sit in sadness. His mother, aunt, grandmother Tammy Allen Bailey and the rest of his family and friends decided that they would take their sadness and channel it into something that Weston would have loved and that is making kids smile. So they contacted me as the ministry assistant at Harmony Free Will Baptist and asked if I could help them plan a toy drive in May to collect toys and then again in December to help get those toys given out to families who, for one reason or another, needed them. I was happy to assist.”
They went on to create an online form (now closed for the year) for families to fill out about what their child/children wanted or needed for Christmas.
This event helped 50 children the first year, 200 last year and this year 433 kids are registered. “The first year we had a great turnout of community donations, but community donations have decreased greatly since the first year,” Gryder said. “We do the toy drive in May on [Weston’s] birthday as a way to positively cope with his loss. But my mother, my sister [and I] buy toys year round to distribute at Christmas.”
This year there are more children than ever signed up, perhaps a sign of inflation that has swept across the country. “We have children [ages] 0 to 17 signed up this year, [so] any donation is not too small,” Gryder added. “We want to give as many kids as possible Christmas this year in honor of Weston. Any donation is greatly appreciated so that glory goes to God for his goodness.”
If you or your family would be interested in adopting one of the children on the list, contact Cardwell at Harmony Freewill Baptist Church from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or message on Facebook. You may also drop off toy donations there during that time period.
There are donation boxes for new toys and items for teens at the Dollar General in Hampton and Amber’s Country Kitchen. Cardwell said folks are always welcome to bring any donations to the church before or after any service on Sunday and Wednesday. Monetary donations can be sent to Jessica Gryder $KAYKAMBRYCE on cashapp or Tammy Bailey via PayPal at email@example.com.
“We never think any gift is too small,” Gryder said. “We appreciate anything you can do.”
The rules for donations are simple:
• They welcome toys or monetary donations for children from newborn to 17.
• Clearance and bargain hunter shoppers are always welcomed to donate.
• Don’t wrap gifts so that parents can see what’s given before children see them.
• It’s already enough for parents to have to ask for help; this is the reason no photos of the children, parents or families will be posted or shared.
Gryder said everyone should have the same goal: Providing help to those who need it. “The best gift of all is a smile on a child’s face,” she said.
Can’t give this year? They welcome prayers as well.
Each family who signed up should receive an email with a number to produce when they come to pick up their toys Dec. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the church.
“The tag line on all our cards placed in the gifts is ‘When all that’s left of me is love, give me away,’” said Cardwell.