St. Clair College student council president Sarah Ryrie won a 2007 Dodge Nitro through a social media contest by Windsor’s Rocky Motors.
After winning, Ryrie promptly sold her 2004 Chrysler Sebring for $1,000 and used the money to buy food for the St. Clair College Food Bank, at which she volunteers.
“I’m one of the people who get to see some of the hardest working students. Some of them have every odd against them. They’re not coming in with an iPhone 5. They don’t have cellphones. Some haven’t eaten in a couple days. It’s heartbreaking,” she said of those who access the school's food bank.
Ryrie said the food bank services the unemployed who have gone back to school, single parents and those who don’t have much money left after tuition.
“It’s very eye opening,” she said of working at the food bank. “I was very fortunate to grow up to not know it was a thing that some people didn’t come home to food in the fridge or overflowing cupboards.”
Ryrie said she bought 100 cans of soup, 40 boxes of cereal, toiletries and more.
“I know it’s not the healthiest thing, but I bought Oreos and cookies because some of these kids might not ever have a cookie in their lunch pail,” she said.
Ryrie entered the Facebook contest less than two weeks before it closed. Contestants had to film a short video explaining why they deserved to win. The winner was determined by the number of “Likes” the video received on the auto dealer’s Facebook page.
Two days before contest closed, Ryrie and her family stayed up all night messaging people, encouraging them to like her video. Ryrie personally messaged her 2,000-plus friends on Facebook.
Her video eventually received more than 2,500 likes and was declared a winner.
“It just became this huge thing. Every day, I was getting hundreds and hundreds of likes,” she said.
Once she won, her mom also helped with the shopping. The two spent weeks filling the SUV. They bought food only when it was on sale.
“Even though $1,000 sounds like a lot of money, it goes really quickly,” she said. “It also opened my eyes. I’m so glad I don’t buy all the groceries in my house.”
Here's Ryrie's video entry:
On mobile? Watch the video here.