Monday Motivator – Ryan’s Making A Difference Outreach

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. –Take a minute to meet a local hero. Ryan Depp has spent the last 5 years of his Saturday morning serving food to those in need. Saturday, August 31st, he wanted to celebrate his 18th birthday with the friends he’s made over the years. 

“You get to know their stories, and you get to know all the things they’ve been through. That makes you want to serve all the more,” said Depp.

This good Samaritan prepares home cooked meals for anywhere between 40 to 70 people in need. 

Depp said, “We noticed an instant spike in attendees whenever we started cooking hot meals instead of pack lunches.”

He said the expenses cost him a little over $1000 a year, but it’s worth every penny, because it brings him a joy he didn’t think he’d feel at one point in his life. 

“When I was 13, I started struggling with some depressive issues. But I noticed a community issue. There were a lot of people being ignored. They didn’t really get a lot of help. So, I just decided to take up the task of trying to help them in any way I could. That’s where this entire thing got built up. It’s become my bigger than it was. Bigger than I ever possibly imagined,” said Depp.

Depp’s selflessness has turned a few eyes in the community and inspired others to pitch in. One of those volunteers is 16-year-old Lila Mantooth. 

“There’s a couple people who come in and ask how much it is, and we say it’s free, their face just lights up. They’re like oh my gosh, you don’t know how much help that is to me. And I just love seeing them, so it’s amazing,” said Mantooth.

Mantooth is one of Depp’s classmates, and she’s served alongside him about 4 years now. The two of them, along with the other volunteers, have helped the less fortunate in more ways than physical. 

“I got with a guy, you know. He took me down to nothing and I hit the streets,” said food recipient Michelle.

“My family kicked me out, so I’ve been here ever since last year, ever since my father passed away,” said food recipient Pauline.

Michelle and Pauline have experienced their fair share of tribulations over the years, but they said kids like Depp are the light people experiencing homelessness need to see. 

Michelle said, “I’m glad there’s somebody out here to help the homeless, because if not, they would have nobody.“

Pauline said, “They’re precious. Very precious. Everybody that I’ve met is precious to me.”

Even though Wester Kentucky University is right around the corner for this young hero, Depp doesn’t see his acts of kindness stopping any time soon. 

“I think I’ll be doing this in college. Maybe well into adulthood,” Depp said. 

Mantooth said, “I’m still here for college. I probably will still keep on doing it if Ryan is still doing it, so.”

Depp wanted to leave others with a call to serve. 

“I’ve seen here how just one or two people can make such a big impact. So, everyone has the ability to make a difference in their community. So, I’d encourage everyone who’s ever thought to come out to start volunteering. Maybe come out with us. Or maybe start your own outreaches and organizations. We’ve seen plenty people do that.”

People interesting in helping Depp by donating to Ryan’s Making a Difference Outreach can visit their Facebook page.