BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Christmas blessing is a charity that started small a few years ago, but this is their biggest year yet. They’re hoping to provide gifts for 30 families--more than 100 local children. As well as anyone else who reaches out asking for help.
“The need is so much larger that we ever expected to try and help, we currently have nonstop messages from people saying ‘I’m affected from COVID, I’m a server, can you help us',” said organizer, Kate Gerlach of Clarence.
Christmas Blessing began as a way to honor her late father, John Tolley.
"My dad always said you give your all, your hardest when it seems unbearable. Every day we try to get more donations to help each and every family or person that reaches out to us,” said Gerlach.
This annual charity allows WNYers to "adopt" families in need. Families send their child's wishlist and families donate the gifts.
"People in the community understand and are willing to step in...just outstanding and overwhelming," said Regina Crew, who's been a recipient for the past three years.
Crew is a mother of three, who knows what it’s like to go without during the holidays.
"You feel like a failure as a parent. You feel like a failure as a mom. They’re just looking at you like, ‘What happened? Why didn’t Santa come?’" said Crew.
Gerlach says these children are not asking for big gifts, like a PlayStation 5, in their lists to Santa. They’re asking for socks, blankets and sometimes gifts for their parents.
"Which is just mind-blowing, because they're not even thinking about themselves," said Gerlach.
To meet the need this year, Christmas Blessing is once again partnering up with Sweet Buffalo and adding Red Bull, Buffalo Bills private chef Darian Bryan, the Singing Cops and more.
"Our partnership has just grown incredibly, there’s so many other people in the community that want to help now and we actually received a one thousand dollar grant from the pollination project," said Kimberly LaRussa, with Sweet Buffalo.
They’ll use that money to buy gifts for as many families as they can. They're also worked to feed those living in local homeless shelters and are taking requests as they come in.
"It’s an absolutely wonderful thing, they go out of their way to fulfill the wishes of the children," said Crew.
So, how can you help?
Whether it’s big or small—you can bring unwrapped gifts for men, women and children to one of their drop off locations:
- Gramma Moras, 1465 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216
- Sweet Pea Bakery, Staub Square, 1 S. Buffalo St, Hamburg, NY 14075
- OWN NY Real Estate, 8623 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221
- Just Pizza, 2319 Niagara Falls Blvd, Buffalo, NY 14228
- Paddock Chevrolet, 3232 Delaware Ave, Kenmore, NY 14217
- Seneca One, 1 Seneca St, Buffalo, NY 14203
- Your CBD Store
- Kenmore, 8070 Transit Rd., Williamsville, NY
- Williamsville, 3191 Delaware Ave.
- Hamburg, 4154 McKinley Pkwy., Suite 800
- The Cellar, 569 Elmwood Ave, Buffalo, NY 1422
If you don't want to donate in-person, you can give to their GoFundMe or reach out to their email firstname.lastname@example.org.
They're accepting donations until December 22.