NORTH BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Christmas Blessing has become a tradition for the Tolley sisters. Every holiday season, they collect for those in need, in honor of their late father. This year they’ve collected more than 1300 gifts and are helping 200 people.
“Christmas Blessing started right before my father passed away and it just started as one family in the community that had a need,” said founder Kate Tolley-Gerlach. “We met the need by not getting each other gifts that year.”
Instead the Tolley’s donated to that family to make sure they had a special Christmas. It was John Tolley’s giving heart that inspired the idea. “Though he didn’t have a lot, everything that he had, he gave with a grateful heart,” she said.
Just six months later he passed away in June of 2019. “Christmas seemed unbearable,” she Tolley-Gerlach. “But my mom said, ‘Do you seriously think that we can’t do this when this is all your father would want?’ “So I was shaken into.. she’s totally right.”
What began as a small effort to give, has now grown into a massive one. “This year we have partnered up with Restoration Society to help adopt local children who might not be able to afford Christmas or they are living paycheck to paycheck,” she said.
They are helping 67 local children, 27 families and 65 men and women through Code Blue.
For the Tolley family, being able to give back in their fathers honor means everything. “I believe my dad is proud in what we have shown the world that we were here to do,” said Tolley-Gerlach. “It’s immeasurable the amount that we miss him but to carry on his legacy is a blessing.”
You can donate and find drop off locations by heading here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/christmasblessingforlessfortunatechildren2020