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When Tricia Gauthier passed away unexpectedly at the age of 21, her family knew that the only way to move forward would be to carry Trish’s legacy with them. Reflecting on causes they knew Trish cared about, they decided early on to make it a tradition to give back to Child Crisis Arizona each year in honor of her birthday.

Every February, for 15 years now, they’ve banned together with friends and family to collect donations for the agency. From pajamas, bedding, diapers, toiletries, shoes and more, they always seek to fulfill the greatest need. In addition to all the donations, the family is proud that their annual drive is a chance to raise awareness for the charity.

“People wanted to help us and they wanted to give us something,” Tricia’s mother, Susanne, explained. “This was an easy way for them to help us and for us to help others.”

The donation drive has changed over the years. Some years other organizations would get involved and during the pandemic it became a mostly cash or drop-off donations. Still, the tradition continues and each January Susanne says she has friends reaching out asking how they can contribute again.

“I’m just humbled that that support and that love is there for so many years,” she shared. “It’s easy to forget but it has become a tradition for so many other people too.”

Tricia was known for her outgoing personality and the way she genuinely cared for people. She was never afraid to make big changes to go for her dreams. She volunteered for Child Crisis Arizona through her school and eventually on her own. Her younger sister Amy and mom Susanne also volunteered in the Emergency Children’s Shelter.

“Seeing those children and knowing what they are going through and not understanding why they have to go through it, it’s heartbreaking,” Susanne said. “To be able to do something that will impact their lives even though they don’t directly understand it is such a blessing. What better way to honor her?”

This year the Gauthier family, along with about 30 family and friends, brought in donations of diapers, baby wipes and Valentine Day crafts for the children in the Emergency Shelter.

Donation drives help provide much needed items to the kids in our care. You can find a current list of needs on our Wish List.