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Good Samaritan Helps Make Holidays Brighter for Koch Elementary Families | Community Spirit

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Good Samaritan Helps Make Holidays Brighter for Koch Elementary Families
Good Samaritan Helps Make Holidays Brighter for Koch Elementary Families

Riverview, FL -- Eight families of students who attend Koch Elementary School will have a brighter holiday this year thanks to a good Samaritan in a restaurant who struck up conversation with Koch Elementary Principal Stephanie Small.

The school held a successful canned food drive and purchased turkeys before winter break to brighten the holidays for six Koch families, but was unable to coordinate efforts that would allow staff to “adopt” students and purchase toys and clothing.

“We have many students who have great needs that are not met, especially during this time of the year,” said Ms. Small.On Sunday, while Ms. Small was eating at First Watch in St. Peters with her own daughters, the Artbuthnot family from St. Charles sitting near them struck up a casual conversation.  As the conversation turned to school, church and the holidays, Keena Artbuthnot mentioned they were looking for families to help. On Monday, the Artbuthnots contacted Small and told her they purchased coats, hats, toys and gifts for eight Koch families.

“I was overwhelmed with gratitude because your students become your family as well,” said Small. “This is a wonderful example of how the community can partner with schools to benefit our students.”

Keena Artbuthnot, a professor at Louisiana State University who was home for the holidays, rallied her family and friends to help make the gifts possible for Koch families. She, Small and her family and several of her friends made the deliveries this week.

On Tuesday, Dec. 22, Small and her secretary, Melinda Steinbecker, and the school's instructional coach gathered can goods and delivered food baskets that Koch Student Council collected before winter break. Ms. Small and her son along with Keena Artbuthnot and her mom delivered gifts to the families on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

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