KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A graduating senior at Barstow School was recognized by a local food pantry for her years of dedication.
Susanna King has been giving her time and energy to the Jewish Family Services Food Pantry since the third grade.
She first walked through their doors as a little girl to volunteer with her mom and found a second family.
People at JFS describe her as a friendly, innovative go-getter.
Food pantry director Jo Hickey said King feels more like a friend than most of the 500-plus volunteers.
“I don’t really feel like she's my daughter, because she’s such an older spirit to me,” Hickey said. “She’s just a personality that you can’t, you can’t help but love her.”
King has been bagging and delivering groceries to those who are home-bound for years, contributing to more than 900 distributions that go out the door monthly.
For one of her birthdays as a little girl, she spearheaded a toy drive instead of receiving gifts.
For her Bat Mitzvah project in middle school, she worked with the food pantry to help deliver boxes of food out to clients.
She carried her dedication into her young adult years and thought of creative ways to give back consistently.
“I also created a summer project with my temple that I had gone to where the kids and I created cards to give to home-bound clients to brighten their days,” King said.
She said everything she does goes back to her life mantra.
“There’s the Jewish value of tikkun olam, which means repairing the world. And I think that’s probably one of the key values — me being a Jewish woman and growing up as a Jewish teen,” King said.
Outside of the pantry, King is an all-star student at school.
She dedicates her time to varsity dance and Soccer, works for the Barstow Television Network, and served this year as the President of the Ambassador's Team.
Come August, King will be heading off to college on the East Coast.
She said it is the people she’ll miss most.
As the perfect send off, the food pantry is recognizing King as its “Volunteer of the Month.”
“Susanna is a very unique individual who has placed volunteerism as a priority in her life,” Hickey said. “We’re really lucky to be the agency that wins from that opportunity.”
As she opens the door to her next adventure, King encourages all her peers to get involved in the community and to start young.
“You know that that’s something you can bring with you in the future, and just overall, it’ll help make the world a better place,” King said.
King’s colleagues at the food pantry said she will be deeply missed when she leaves home for college in Boston, but they say she will carry with her the drive and experience to serve her new community.
Hickey says the organization is always looking for volunteers and anyone can apply on their website. Recruiters will reach out to you if they find a match for a volunteer opportunity.