Mother donates to Toys for Tots in daughter’s memory

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – Hundreds of people have found it in their hearts to donate to Toys for Tots this holiday season, but one mom in particular is doing it in honor of her daughter.

Over the past six weeks, Marie Sumnicht has been ordering toys to donate to Toys for Tots.

“I think I had about 50 toys, maybe more,” said Sumnicht.

Sumnicht said her goal was to give those less fortunate a Christmas to look forward to because she knows, all too well, what it’s like to not want to celebrate Christmas at all.

“No question it changed our lives,” said Sumnicht.

Six and a half years ago Sumnicht’s 21-year-old daughter, Julia, passed away.

“It was totally unexpected,” said Sumnicht. “Nothing we could prepare for.”

Sumnicht said what got her through some of her darkest hours was a gift basket from an anonymous donor.

“Someone in their kindness put gifts on my porch and they actually put 25 small gifts and told me to open one every day,” said Sumnicht. “I looked back and thought wow that helped me through Christmas and I wanted to be able to give back.”

Sumnicht said she thought about what Julia would want and came up with the idea to collect gifts for children this year.

“I’ve learned, you know, when you go through something and you lose someone who’s close to you, really the best thing is to do something for someone else,” said Sumnicht.

Sumnicht said there isn’t a day that goes by that she doesn’t think about Julia, but she knows this is exactly what she would have wanted.

“I can see a smile on her face right now,” said Sumnicht.

Sumnicht said she plans to do the same thing next year in honor of her daughter, but she will focus her gift-buying for teenagers.

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