A school in a small Texas town opened a student-run grocery store to support families in need
In a year of raging pandemics, election conspiracy theories, and general awfulness, good news can seem hard to find. Look no further: the student-run grocery store at Linda Tutt High School in rural Sanger, Texas, provides food and other necessities to students and their families while teaching essential job skills. The store doesn’t accept cash, relying instead on good deeds, and as no money is exchanged, students shop using a point system.
Linda Tutt High School just north of Dallas has opened the store so students can purchase necessities such as toilet paper, meat, and basic food items. Students pay for their purchases by earning reward points for carrying out good deeds or excelling in class.
“In our school district, there’s roughly 2,750 students enrolled, and throughout the district 43% of these students are considered economically disadvantaged,” Anthony Love, the principal at Linda Tutt, told CNN. “About 3.6% of our students are considered homeless. We thought it was important to support them and their families and make sure they had food on the table.”
The high school partnered with First Refuge Ministries, Texas Health Resources and Albertsons to open the store, which is entirely managed by students who manage inventory, stock the shelves, and assist other students in finding and bagging supplies they need.
Students and families all over the school district can purchase anything they need using points, which initially depends on the size of their family. Then students can earn more points by performing well at school, doing good deeds, or completing jobs in the school, such as helping out at the library or mentoring younger students.
“One thing we really push for is students earning points by going above and beyond in the classroom or doing something kind,” Love said. “These are the things we celebrate, and we’ll call home and tell mom and dad their student got a positive office referral and they get a reward for that.”
“We are a small school district but we always try to teach our kids the importance of giving back to the community,” Love said. “Now school districts all around Texas and the rest of the country are asking how they can start a program like ours, and it’s really exciting for us to know our little town is spreading good.”
The store is open for students and employees of the school district from Monday through Wednesday and for one hour on Tuesday for the general public. On December 15, the store will be open to the entire community in Sanger.
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