Green Bay mom using grief to help others around the holidays

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — WBAY is proud to partner with The Salvation Army for the Toys for Tots campaign that is currently underway. A Green Bay woman is helping and finding joy this holiday season by turning a personal tragedy into Christmas presents for those in need.

Christmas 2009 was the last holiday Marie Sumnicht’s four children all spent together. Just months after the holiday, her 21-year-old daughter, Julia, died unexpectedly. Sumnicht says the following Christmas was hard on her, but a basket full of gifts, left on her porch, to open from December first through Christmas day made a difference.

According to Marie Sumnicht, “It got me through December and I thought about how much that meant to me to get through the holiday that somebody was thinking about me.”

So this Christmas, Sumnicht wants to help bring joy to others through the Toys for Tots campaign. She’s hoping to fill her van with dozens of toys that will help to keep kids active.

“As someone who wants kids to exercise, be creative, I’ve been picking gifts that meet those needs,” says Sumnicht about her purchases.

While Sumnicht would love for others to help her fill her van, she’s looking for monetary donations rather than items. She’d like people to sponsor toys that she is personally picking out purchasing online.

It’s a project that is not only helping her heal from the loss of her daughter, but one she knows also honors the vibrant young woman who would have wanted to help others too.

Sumnicht adds, “Julia would have a very big smile on her face. And I know this really is Julia’s heart also. She loved people, she loved to make them laugh, and she wanted them to be happy and I know she’s wanted that for me so I guess it’s really a Christmas present from me to her up in heaven.”

Those interested in donating money or a toy to Sumnicht’s campaign can either drop them off at her home or mail them to her. Her address is 1754 Berkshire Drive, Green Bay, WI, 54313.

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