Daughter of homicide victim helps kids like her at Christmas

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With more than 100 homicides this year it's hard to think about how many children lose a parent in the metro as time passes.

This year, a child of one of those victims is working hard to make Christmas a happier time for kids just like her.

"They're not alone. There are children like them," said 23-year-old Sunnie Carney. "I'm the child of a homicide victim, so I feel their pain."

Carney started Children of Homicide Victims after she lost her dad, Vernon Ray Carney Jr., when she was 16 years old.

"It was very hard. Losing a male figure, and then losing someone who you looked up to as a hero," Carney said. "A home without a father for a little girl - it's critical."

She invited as many kids as she could for a special Christmas celebration. About 40 were able to make it.

"Kids sometimes seem to internalize things, so you don't really know how they feel," Gaye Weston said.

Her son, Brandon Johnson, was killed in 2016, and she brought his children to the event.

"For them to come together and just remember these children that have lost parents to violence- I think it`s awesome," Weston said.

All the kids received gifts, breakfast, time with Santa, and the opportunity to spend time together.

Amelia and Jason Brown lost their dad, David Krantz, more than four years ago.

"It's better that we have somebody to talk to that has lived through it than somebody who doesn't know exactly how it feels," said 12-year-old Amelia Brown.

"It's better to know that there are other people out there," said 11-year-old Jason Brown. "There are kids that go through the same thing, and you are not alone."

"When you have a child that doesn't see their mom or their dad or family around Christmas time it can be depressing," Carney said. "I can be there for them for whatever reason. Whether it's comfort, whether they go through depression and they need advice, whether it's understanding. We just want to restore a little hope and cheer in their holiday."

The gifts for the children are thanks to donations from people in the community including Chiefs running back Spencer Ware. If you would like to learn more about Children of Homicide Victims, or get connected, visit their Facebook page for more information.

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