Ryan Real

Scarlet Service Stories: Ryan Real

Ryan Real, Five Loaves Food Pantry

Ryan Real remembers his parents’ sending food and other personal items to relatives living more than 8,000 miles away in the Philippines as he was growing up. He was raised by nurses who both decided to leave their home country more than two decades ago and migrate to the United States for a better life.

“The opportunities there were very limited,” said Real, 21, a senior at Rutgers-Newark who spent much of the summer as a Scarlet Service intern at Five Loaves Food Pantry at the College Avenue Community Church in New Brunswick. “I share the same vision as my parents of wanting a better future and wanting to help.”

Unlike his parents and other family members who are health care providers, teachers or in business, Real wants a career in law, where he can help combat discrimination and inequality. He has spent the summer at the food pantry researching grant opportunities, participating in the development of dietary health programs and events and helping to update the computer system to make it easier for staff to navigate.

His Rutgers Scarlet Service experience has left him wanting to focus on helping those with food insecurity.

Ryan Real
Ryan Real interned at Five Loaves Food Pantry in New Brunswick through Rutgers Scarlet Service.
Rutgers University/Nick Romanenko

“The stories from volunteers and those who come into the pantry make me realize that they have lives beyond their financial circumstances,” said Real, a political science major and history and legal studies minor. “They’ve been put in this situation because of various misfortunes and just need someone to listen and do what they can to help.”

Volunteering is not new for Real. He has been involved in Student-Organized Rutgers Against Hunger, serving as its representative and liaison when coordinating events with other organizations. He also worked as a hotline intern for Legal Services of New Jersey, as a congressional intern for U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone and is the president of the Pre-Law Society in the Rutgers-Newark School of Arts and Sciences.

Real plans on taking a gap year after he graduates in May 2024, continue working in the community and then go on to law school. “What I want to do is help people who are less fortunate,” said Real. “We need to offer more compassion to others, and I want to be that advocate for the marginalized.”

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