NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. — Three sisters have taken on the tradition of collecting toys for kids in honor of their late father. At Bliss Salon in North Tonawanda, the Tolley sisters took a tragedy from their father's death and turned it into a triumph through their grief.

Instead of receiving presents that year, when their father died of a heart attack, they decided to help those in need by collecting more than 1,300 gifts last year in the midst of the pandemic.

In the five years since they started, it has grown more than they ever imagined. They've gone from giving Christmas blessings themselves to being a blessing and are now officially a nonprofit getting plenty of help from the community.

Kate Tolley-Gerlach says she knows it's exactly what her father would've wanted.

"My dad was someone that didn't have a lot but what he had, he gave with a grateful heart," said Tolley-Gerlach. "I believe he raised us to do the right thing in each phase of our life. And I believe that when he left he left us the legacy of giving and we're very faith-based and we believe that it was all in the plan. So, I believe he would be proud of us living through him."

Donations will be collected until Dec. 22. Once the gifts are picked up, they are wrapped and distributed to children at homeless shelters and gifted to children battling illness. In addition to toys, hats, gloves, toiletries and new backpacks are gratefully accepted for the men and women in Code Blue. 

If you'd like to help, you can drop off items at the following locations:

  • Sweet Pea Bakery Staub Square, 1 S. Buffalo St., Hamburg, N.Y. 14075
  • Sweat Society 1585 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, N.Y. 14216
  • Gramma Mora's 1465 Hertel Ave., Buffalo, N.Y. 14216
  • Just Pizza & Wing Co. Amherst, NY Location 2319 Niagara Falls Blvd., Buffalo, N.Y. 14228
  • Bliss Salon & Day Spa 1246 Payne Ave., North Tonawanda, N.Y. 14120
  • Peak Performance Chiropractic & Wellness 989 Kenmore Ave., Kenmore, N.Y. 14217
  • EMME Medical Spa 4211 N. Buffalo St., Suite 17, Orchard Park, N.Y. 14127
  • Shatkin F.I.R.S.T. 2495 Kensington Ave., Amherst, N.Y. 14226
  • Own NY Real Estate 8623 Main St., Williamsville, N.Y. 14221
  • North West Bank 2981 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, N.Y. 14217
  • Paddock Chevrolet 3232 Delaware Ave., Kenmore, N.Y. 14217
  • Gianni Mazia's On Main 10325 Main St., Clarence, N.Y. 14031
  • Rebel Ride in Clarence 1427, 6449 Transit Road, Suite 3, East Amherst, N.Y. 14051
  • The Lash Loft & Beauty Lounge 19 Main St., Suite 201, Tonawanda, N.Y. 14150
  • Polo Ralph Lauren in the Outlets 1774 Military Road, Space 84-86, #88, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
  • Marco’s Italian Deli 960 Maple Road, Williamsville, N.Y. 14221
  • Cellino Plumbing, Heating & Cooling inside the McKinley Mall 3701 McKinley Parkway, Buffalo, N.Y. 14219
  • Bada Bing 42 West Chippewa St., Buffalo, N.Y. 14202
  • Frankie Primos 26 Webster St., North Tonawanda, N.Y. 14120
  • Vogue Salon and Day Spa 30 Los Robles St., Williamsville, N.Y. 14221
  • Synergy Fitness 6045 Transit Road, East Amherst, N.Y. 14051
  • Golden Hour Salon 818 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo, NY 14222
  • Bellreng’s Towing & Automotive 2131 Eggert Road, Amherst, N.Y. 14226