Senior of the month Rosie Ryan has always been passionate about social justice. She is the president of the Feminist Coalition and volunteers for PotBangerz and Planned Parenthood.
Ryan and her family have also run a canned food drive, Webster Feeds, for nine years.
The organization was actually started almost accidentally by Ryan’s sister, alumna Irene Ryan.
“My sister was in the gifted program, Project Plus, at Hixson,” Ryan explained. “In seventh grade they had to do a service project, so she was like, ‘What if we do a canned food drive?’ It was so easy and so fun that we kept it going.”
Thus Webster Feeds was born.
From 2011-2018, Webster Feeds has collected 9037 pounds of food and $13,095.62. This food and money was able to feed 33,256 for one whole day, 45 percent more people than live in Webster.
Webster Feeds has raised this money by holding events such as “cans for tacos” at local restaurant Milagro and setting up tables and bins for donations at the Webster Schnucks on Super Bowl Sunday. The Super Bowl Sunday event will continue this year on Feb. 3. Ryan is also looking into doing another event like “cans for tacos,” but this time at a different local restaurant.
“We are looking at a couple different options for this year,” Ryan said.
Despite Ryan being the last of her family in the district, the legacy of Webster Feeds will live on next year.
“We’re passing it on to Coach Chris Allen’s family (next year),” Ryan said. “They have three young kids of varying ages, so we’re passing it on to them. This year they are shadowing us to figure out how it runs, so hopefully it will continue in Webster, and if not, we have done a lot of good.”
In addition to the new family takeover, Ryan is also trying to get the school more involved.
“I’m working with (principal) Dr. (Matt) Irvin right now to try to get the school more involved, but it has been really hard. There have been a few ‘cement walls,’ but Dr. Irvin is really interested in getting it here,” Ryan said.
Through this organization, Ryan has learned that nothing is too big to fight.
“Webster Feeds taught me that it is so easy to help and to give. Hunger seems like a huge mountain to conquer, but it just takes a little bit of effort and a Facebook page to help others,” Ryan said.
This is Eleanor Marshall’s second year on ECHO staff, but she made several contributions while taking journalism class her sophomore year. She has been recognized for her work by JournalismSTL, MJEAand MIPA.