Toy store receives Empire Award for helping kids during COVID pandemic

NEW ROCHELLE, Westchester County (WABC) -- A toy store in Westchester County received a New York State Senate Empire Award for giving back to their community during the height of the COVID pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins presented TP Toys and Accessories in New Rochelle with the award Friday afternoon.

The Empire Award is a prestigious honor given by the NYS Senate to businesses who not only give back but demonstrate exceptional leadership and contribute significantly to a community's quality of life.

New Rochelle, the epicenter of the pandemic in Westchester County, was put into mandatory lockdown last year, and with schools closed, TP Toys And Accessories helped area children stuck inside.

Owner Kemesha Salmon started a Mystery Bag giveaway through her store's website where community members could make a donation towards bags filled with educational crafts and toys for underprivileged children in the area.

Salmon packed the bags and single-handedly delivered them in compliance with the stay-at-home order to about 560 children.

"During COVID she found a way to make sure what was happening in there benefitted this entire community," NYS Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.

In addition, Salmon continued her annual school supply and backpack giveaway and kept her store open to customers through FaceTime shopping and curbside pickup.

TP Toys and Accessories has been serving the New Rochelle community with specialty children's toys for several years.

Salmon is known to many in the area for her regular charitable work through her foundation, Kemesha's Kommunity.

"I do it because I want a better community for my children and I feel if it's a better community for them, it's helping others, other children to thrive," Salmon said.

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