BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Three sisters, inspired by their dad, started Be a Blessing Buffalo to help people in need feel loved throughout the holiday season.
"My sisters and I were heartbroken. My dad died almost six months to the day of Christmas. We truly didn't know how to go on. But my father was adamant about he didn't have a lot, but what he had he gave with a grateful heart," Kate Tolley Gerlach, co-founder of Be a Blessing Buffalo, said, "I remember my mom saying as soon as you make it not about you, you'll understand that this is so much of a bigger cause. Whether you're sad or not, your father would want you to do this. My sisters and I just picked it up and what we thought was one family ended up being 100 people."
About two years before their father passed, the family started giving to a family in need on Christmas. When their dad passed away unexpectedly in June of 2019, they decided to step it up a notch. The three sisters collected gifts for kids of all ages, presents for the elderly with no family left, and backpacks for the homeless.
"They're so incredibly humbled by that backpack. When you watch a grown man cry over socks, you understand where that type of love comes from," Tolley Gerlach said.
This year, the sisters hope to help 500 people through Be a Blessing Buffalo. In May, the organization became a 501(c)(3) so they can help even more of those in need in Buffalo.
"I just hope that every mother who comes asking for help gets it. I hope that every sad older person alone knows that they're loved. I hope that every person that is mentally ill that is outside and doesn't know the difference to sleeping inside knows that they are loved. I hope that just maybe one lesson that my father taught us will ripple forever," Tolley Gerlack said.
You can donate to Be a Blessing Buffalo through GoFundMe, or by dropping off unwrapped toys at any of these locations:
- Bellreng’s Towing & Automotive 2131 Eggert Road, Amherst, N.Y. 14226
- 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
- Sunsets and Sous Boutique 129 Sheridan Drive Buffalo, NY 14217
- 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
If you are in need of assistance this holiday season, you can reach out to Be a Blessing Buffalo confidentially at BeablessingBuffalo@gmail.com.