Proud to be from Pittsburgh: Local boy’s Toys for Tots drive

WASHINGTON, Pa. — Many children are still enjoying those new toys they got for Christmas, and many families depended on Toys For Tots to make sure their kid had the best Christmas possible.

One toy drive collected more than 1,000 toys and was coordinated all by a 12-year-old boy.

Every December, since the age of 5, Colby Jeffery has hosted and promoted his annual drive Toys for Tots Box Truck Drive in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Jeffery’s goal was to fill a box truck his first year after learning about the Toys for Tots Program at school. The drive started small. Jeffery asked friends and family to give, and he collected 200 toys.

By year two, he started a Facebook page to spread the word and collected more toys. He finally filled a box truck up during year four, and the following years he filled larger trucks.

Kristen Bergman said her son’s kindness and drive to help make her speechless, and she was nervous about how they would do the toy drive during a pandemic.

“This year, he was scared about not being able to get it done, and he said, ‘Mom, more people need it this year. They need it so bad.’ And we were lucky enough to have a support team around us in the community businesses that step up for him every single year,” Bergman said. “To be able to do it outdoors and to be able to bring some sort of normalcy in light in a year that was super dark for a lot of people.”

As 2020 proved to be challenging for many people, Jeffery knew his drive was needed more than ever.

“I was pretty confused on how I was going to do it,” Jeffery said. “We weren’t sure at first if we were going to do it or not, then we decided that if we had hand sanitizer gloves masks cleaning supplies to clean off the toys and everything, we would be able to do it.”

He collected 1,046 toys at a Krispy Kreme parking lot — a goal he never thought would happen.

“I was also a bit nervous that with everything going on in 2020, that people would think it was a scam and stuff like that, but people came through,” Jeffery said.

The Lone Pine Fire Department supported Jeffery by bringing Santa and Mrs. Claus along with lots of toys to donate.

Toys For Tots Washington County coordinator Michael Pallesco said he is impressed with Jeffery’s dedication to the program.

“Anyone at that age, consistently doing it year after year, is doing an outstanding job,” Pallesco said.

Bergman said she is beyond proud of her son and the community for supporting him.

“It’s been cold for a few years, and he stands there,” Bergman said. “(He) greets everybody, has a smile on his face, and he learned at a very young age that giving is so much better than receiving.”

Jeffery has collected more than 6,000 toys with the past seven toy drives and says he’s not done. He’s already starting work on this year’s drive and encourages people to give.

Jeffery’s next drive will be in December. If you want to support him, you can follow his Facebook page, where the latest updates on his toy drive will be posted.

Jeffery is making us proud to be from Pittsburgh.