Snohomish volunteer grateful for her blessings
Mark Mulligan / The Herald
Sue Koch (right) talks with Bebout while assisting her at the Snohomish Food Bank on Tuesday evening. Koch, a fourth-grade teacher in Snohomish, volunteers at the food bank every Tuesday night.
Mark Mulligan / The Herald
Judy Bebout surveys the groceries at the Snohomish Food Bank while shopping Tuesday evening in Snohomish. Like many of the clients who come into Sue Koch's office at the food bank, Bebout is on a first-name basis with the regular volunteer.
Between Jan. 1 and Monday, Koch logged more than 340 hours at the food bank, according to Executive Director Elizabeth Grant. That doesn't count her additional volunteer hours organizing a backpacks-for-children program and her shifts at an Everett thrift store that outfits kids who need clothes.
Koch's been a teacher for 36 years, 33 of those in the Snohomish School District. She's worked at the food bank for about 17 years.
She likes to share her volunteering experiences with students, who don't always realize how much need exists in their communities, she said. There are Snohomish-area families living in their cars, and children who don't have jackets.
At the food bank, Koch verifies recipients' information, Grant said. She also makes sure the rules are followed.
"Just like a really good teacher, she's very loving and kind, with a firm hand," Grant said.
Koch learns a lot hearing clients' stories at the food bank, she said. It makes it harder for anyone to be judgmental after seeing families struggling with bills, medical problems and unemployment, she said. She sees single mothers who are working two jobs.
"I just get in my car every night with a sigh, thankful for what I've had and the opportunities I've had," Koch said. "I'm just grateful for what I have and where I'm at in life, and this is my way to give back to those in need and in the community where I work."
The food bank has an average of 152 people who volunteer weekly, Grant said. They mostly come from Snohomish, with some from Lake Stevens and Mill Creek. There are volunteer opportunities that involve shopping, working with families and organizing the inventory, she said.
At school, Koch is a quiet presence who leads by example and with "a servant's heart," said Little Cedars Principal Becky Brockman.
"She just quietly goes about her day, but she's always very in tune to what's going on around her, really with a heart for the unfortunate," Brockman said.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Replenish the food bank
The Snohomish Community Food Bank needs food donations and financial donations to get through the holiday season and into next year. The food bank serves an average of 300 families every week. They also accept pet food, baby food and diapers.
More info: 360-568-7993, www.snohomishfoodbank.org
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