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Featured Article

Food Station 901

Introduction by Christian Owen

Article by Ruthie Richey

Photography by Sarah Bell, Sélavie Photography

Originally published in River City Lifestyle

Guest writer Ruthie Richey is one of our community’s young leaders, a change-maker, and an advocate for change who is eager to educate others about the impact an apple a day can have on a child’s life.

On July 10, 2021, Ruthie captured the national title of USA National Jr. Teen. She used her national title to impact others with projects focusing on food insecurity and research on how it correlates with bullying among children. 

Ruthie is working to ignite her movement and adjust the demographic of children living in food deserts. Her long-term goal is to construct food stands at gas stations across her state to bring accessible, healthy food options to people who frequent quick-stop convenience stores for food because their proximity to larger grocery stores is limited. Since winning her national title, Ruthie has donated to 10 food banks in eight different states. She’s also a dedicated volunteer for the Mid-South Food Bank and other neighborhood pantries. Notably, she participates in an annual Feed the City Day in which she partners with her parents’ local restaurants to provide breakfast, clothing, haircuts and more to Memphians. Enjoy her inspiring words, an important message to hear within the pages of our local food and beverage issue.

“Serving your local community creates positivity.”

Having food on the table is a luxury for most families in Memphis, and realizing this issue motivated me to make a difference. When I was 12, I learned about the Mid-South Food Bank through my school, but before then, it never occurred to me that many needed aid in supplying food to their families. It was hard for me to grasp this idea since I grew up with a mom who loves to cook and a dad who is heavily involved in the restaurant business, so eating good meals was all I ever knew. I took this opportunity to research more about food insecurity, food deserts and general hunger in Memphis, and I wanted to help. 

For two years, I had been competing in pageants, which emphasize community service. My local food insecurity research combined with a deep appreciation for the food that is available to me led me down a path of discovery developing a new passion for helping people in need put food on their tables. The statistics that accompany food insecurity are alarming, so I wanted to join in the fight to combat this issue and give back. 

Pageant titles are meant to be used as a catalyst for change. I strived to use my reining year to make a positive difference by addressing food insecurity in Memphis. My organization, Food Station 901, raises awareness and explores how children are affected mentally when they are malnourished. Stories shared on our website and blog educate readers about food insecurity in everyday life and how it can lead to bullying. 

Food Station 901’s primary mission is to establish Food Stations filled with nutritious food in gas stations throughout Memphis so that those who live in food deserts can have access to healthy options. I have loved growing into my community service role and I hope that my passion for food-focused work will inspire others in my community to find their passion and give back in ways that excite them. 

PULL QUOTE: All I’ve ever wanted to do in life is make a positive difference, and I’ve learned that all you need is hope, drive and passion to make the world a better place.