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Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Presents Empire Award to New Rochelle Toy Store

(New Rochelle, NY) – Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins presented the prestigious New York State Senate Empire Award to TP Toys And Accessories Inc. in New Rochelle on Friday for owner Kemesha Salmon’s selfless efforts to give back to children at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The State Senate’s highest honor for businesses recognizes those who not only give back, but businesses who demonstrate exceptional leadership and contribute significantly to a community’s quality of life. 

TP Toys And Accessories Inc. owner Kemesha Salmon said, “I am honored to have been chosen by Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins to be the recipient of the New York State Senate Empire Award. One of the things I value and admire about Senator Stewart-Cousins is that throughout her elected career she’s been so in touch with the community. Recognizing our little store for the role we play just shows how committed she is to seeing that we all thrive. Although I’m the one being recognized today, I did not pave this way alone. Thanks to the generosity of my community members, we’ve been able to create a more cohesive community, one that works together to lift each other.”

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. 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. 

Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, “Many residents contacted my office to nominate TP Toys And Accessories for this award because they remembered how hard Kemesha Salmon worked to start her Mystery Bag Giveaway, which was a brilliant idea to help children, while allowing the community to be a part of giving back. Kemesha saw a problem and came up with a solution. She never thought twice about supplying the toys and crafts, and is an example to us all when it comes to helping our community in its greatest hour of need.

The Senate Majority Leader was joined by Senator Shelley B. Mayer, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, New Rochelle City Councilwoman Yadira Ramos-Herbert, New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors President Rob Hayes and Executive Director Catherine White to honor Salmon outside her store on North Avenue.

New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said, “Kemesha is a New Rochelle institution, admired as both a dynamic business owner and as a generous contributor to a range of civic and community causes.  We are a better city because of Kemesha’s leadership, service, and big heart, and I am delighted that her outstanding work is received with such a well-earned recognition.”

Rob Hayes, President of the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce and owner of the Beechmont Tavern said, “I have supported Kemesha and her foundation Kemesha’s Kommunity on both a personal and professional basis. The work she has done for children in our city, while running a business and taking care of her own family, is tremendous. I’m proud to support her many projects and drives and even prouder to call her my friend. Congratulations Kemesha on this well-deserved award.”

Executive Director Karel Littman of the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District (NRBID) said, “Congratulations to Ms. Kemesha Salmon on this award. Our communities benefit so much from having strong, dedicated and wise business owners such as Ms. Kemesha Salmon. Here in New Rochelle, she is providing critical offerings for these times–fun and educational toys–to very important people: our children and their parents.”

For years, TP Toys And Accessories has been offering charitable initiatives and serving the New Rochelle community with specialty children’s toys. Apart from the Mystery Bag giveaway, Salmon held her annual school backpack and supply giveaway safely during the pandemic and kept her store open to customers through FaceTime shopping and curbside pickup. She continues her charitable initiatives for the community like connecting customers to deserving children in the New Rochelle School District to receive birthday presents, and previously connecting customers with children receiving cancer treatment to receive toys while in the hospital.

Salmon started the store almost six years ago when the mother of two could not find suitable toys for her son who is on the autism spectrum. Now, she’s offering toys for all children to enjoy and giving back regularly through her foundation, Kemesha’s Kommunity.

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Photo Caption: Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins presents TP Toys And Accessories Inc. Owner Kemesha Salmon with NYS Senate Empire Award

Photo Caption: Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins presents TP Toys And Accessories Inc. owner Kemesha Salmon with the NYS Senate Empire Award 

Stuart Brown is an Actor, Communications Consultant, and Author. He is also the Entertainment Editor for Black Media Daily, a 24/7 media outlet providing a voice for black content creators and a place to control their image throughout the Diaspora. Stuart is also the co-author of the book Blueprint which discusses the everyday tactics of winning.