Noah Ryan knew his constant trips around the track at Jim Stone Elementary were for a good cause. He just didn’t realize how much good he was doing.
Noah, 6, was given a special citation by the Salvation Army Friday morning for raising 712 cans of food for the Army’s Food Pantry, the most seen by Lt. Russell Clay. He was able to collect the cans for his time spent every recess on the track. For every trip around, a sponsor was able to donate a can of food.
To put Noah’s achievement into perspective, the entire school was able to raise about 2,000 cans of food. Noah raised about 35 percent of the entire total.
"The food pantry has struggled recently," Clay said. "It can be tough keeping our shelves filled, so to have this kind of donation from the school and from this particular student is overwhelming."
The Food Pantry provides bags of nonperishable food to families and seniors in need year-round. It is part of the many services the group has, although they are much more visible during the holiday season.
Noah, who is the son of Chris and Jamie Ryan of Conway, took part in the school’s "Turkey Trot" campaign at Jim Stone, which allowed the students to collect cans of food for the trips they made around the school’s track.
"Noah just kind of took off and it snowballed from there," said Judy Reno, Noah’s grandmother. "He was able to get friends and family to help donate, and his mother, who teaches at Pulaski Tech, was able to get donations from students."
The result was an astounding number of canned food, and even as he received his citation, another bag of cans was waiting to be donated.
"We are very proud of him," Reno said.