Ruiz Foods awards $172K in local scholarships

Staff Writer
Herald Democrat
Ruiz Foods recently awarded $172,000 in scholarships to local students.

Ruiz Foods has awarded a total of $172,000 in scholarships to Texoma students as a part of 2020 Ruiz 4 Kids program. This comes as the Denison food producer had to cancel its annual fundraiser for the program due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic.

Despite the cancellation of the fundraiser, Ruiz officials said sponsors continued to support the program, making this year’s scholarships possible.

“Many Ruiz Foods vendors and suppliers ... including businesses who Ruiz has been working with for years, as well as businesses with whom Ruiz may have just started a relationship ... reached out after they heard we were canceling the golf tournament fundraiser because of COVID-19 and said they didn’t want the graduates to lose out on a scholarship opportunity,” said Kimberly Goble Beck, chairman of that Ruiz 4 Kids scholarship program.

In total, 167 $1,000 scholarships were awarded in Texoma, with two $2,500 scholarships given to junior college transfer students.

This year’s scholarship distribution saw an increase if funding given back to area students. This year’s distribution saw Ruiz raise about $29,000 over the $143,000 that was raised in 2019.

Among the students who receive the $1,000 scholarship was Ethan Lewis of Atoka. Lewis said he found out about the scholarship opportunity through his girlfriend, who was applying as well. Ultimately, both were awarded a scholarship.

Lewis said he plans to attend Southeastern Okalhoma State University to pursue a degree in business with a minor in finance.

“It is going to help me a lot,” Lewis said. “It really helped me get my goals.”

Likewise, Rachel Goade of Anna, who also received a $1,000 scholarship, also plans to pursue a business degree at Southeastern.

Goade said she originally found out about the scholarship program from a brother, who received it about four years ago.

“I was extremely surprised that I would be given this opportunity,” she said. “It is going to help me pay for college and books and get to the place I want to be.”

Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.