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Kokomo woman inspires 'giving tree'

Posted at 11:24 PM, Dec 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-15 23:24:10-05

KOKOMO, Ind. -- While most trees are bare this time of year, one in Central Indiana is still blossoming.

Ten months ago, Kokomo native Beth Notaro shared an idea with a friend.

"We were just chatting and she told me this idea about a mitten tree," said Mary Buchholz. "She told me she wanted it to be something larger, where they gave scarves and hats and things like that."

It was an idea Notaro never got to put into action. One month later, she suddenly died.

However, the idea stuck with Buchholz, who decided to make it happen.

So far, more than 600 items of clothing have been donated this month to the tree, which is covered in coats, gloves, scarves and other items to keep people warm.

Buchholz stops by every day to make sure the tree is stocked. She says the community has Notaro to thank, though.

"I couldn't have done it without her, because I know she's shining down on me," Buchholz said. "I know she gave me those 600 items so far. I know this is all her. I'm just her little elf putting it up there."

Buchholz said two Kokomo churches have started their own trees after spotting hers, making Notaro's legacy even larger.

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