New Rochelle toy store owner helps kids, community during pandemic

Northern Suburbs

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — At the height of the pandemic, in one of the first virus hot spots in the country, a small business owner found a way to keep her toy store open to serve underprivileged children who were in lockdown.

Friday, she was honored for her good deeds. 

Kemesha Salmon’s toy store has always been a bright spot for children around the region.

In the darkest hours of the pandemic, TP Toys and Accessories on North Avenue in New Rochelle, remained a shining light, making sure no child was left behind.

“I don’t do it for validation and I don’t do it for praise, we do it to uplift our community,” said Salmon.

Salmon spent weeks creating nearly 600 mystery bags full of toys and she also helped lead backpack and supply drives for children who had no where else to turn. The Jamaican native moved to New York when she was eight and she was inspired by her autistic son to create her beloved store. 

A promise to help underserved families during a stay-at-home order goes beyond her American Dream.

“To be a business owner, to be an entrepreneur and to give back to my community and to make sure children don’t have a hard time just because they can’t provide for them we want to always step in for that,” said Salmon.

Salmon’s shop was one of the only toy stores in the region that remained open last year. She was an essential business because she sold these educational toys and leaders around the state applaud her good deeds. 

On Friday, Salmon received the Empire Award, the highest honor for a small business owner, given by the New York State Senate.

“She didn’t think twice about supplying these toys and baskets and sharing all of your talents and your gifts,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

Gifts Salmon will continue to give, with no plans to stop.  

“I want people to understand that while I’m here no child will go hungry, no child will go toyless,” said Salmon. 

To get involved on Salmon’s nonprofit, Kemesha’s Kommunity, click here.

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