UNSUNG HERO: Centralia woman holds school supply giveaway - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

UNSUNG HERO: Centralia woman holds school supply giveaway

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CENTRALIA -- School will soon be back in session soon and many groups and organizations help families in need with school supplies. A Centralia woman is being thanked for her contribution of going above and behind for her community.

Whether it's a "back to school bash" or fun day with free school supplies, efforts like these are a big help for many families.

"It means the world to the parents just to have the help that they may have needed at that point in time," said Herrin mom Stephanie Rafe.    

Stephanie knows how important having those supplies are for kids and their parents. She said she's grateful for all the donations that help people, but it was Crystal Koch's efforts that left her emotional.

"She single-handedly put together a 500 plus backpack giveaway, which is just amazing. Who does that?"    

Crystal started buying backpacks a little at a time, with plans to donate them to a local drive.

"Originally had a goal of 100. Well, I hit that goal, went up to 200 and I just kept increasing my goal," added Crystal.    

The Centralia Nurse would go on to buy more than 500 backpacks for K-12 students in Centralia. This prompted her to put on her drive, adding supplies like notebooks, pens, highlighters and index cards.

"Kleenex, Clorox (Wipes), Germ-X (Hand Sanitizer) and items to that extinct," said Crystal.

"Oh, no. It was everything you could possibly need. She even was like making it specific to the school supply list," added Stephanie.    

Stephanie said Crystal paid for all out of her own pocket.

"A person would think that if someone holds something that large, that they were receiving donations or something of that sort, but she wasn't," said Stephanie.    

She calls Crystal an example to others of being not just a sayer but a doer.

"She doesn't say, I love people and I love God. She shows that she loves people and she loves God," said Stephanie.    

Crystal, who has two children of her own, said she just wanted to help the kids start the school year off right.

"I feel God has blessed me and he has blessed me with the ability to bless other people," added Crystal.

She said she hopes to have a drive next year and would like to add sponsors and donations.

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