High School Opens Grocery Store for Struggling Families

Linda Tutt High School in Sanger, Texas, has given hope to students and families throughout the community after opening a grocery store to support those in need. The high school launched the student-led grocery store in November so students could purchase necessities including toilet paper, meat and basic food items. In order to pay for their purchases, students must earn points by doing good deeds.

“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.”

Linda Tutt High School partnered with multiple community resources to open the student-led store. These students manage inventory, stock shelves and help others find the products they need.

“I love this school, I help out in everything we do. And I’m a helper, it’s just what I do. I’m here to make sure students get what they need,” Preston Westbrook, student at the high school, shared with CNN. “The store helped bring families’ spirits up during the pandemic, especially for people who lost family members. The students who come in are just so happy, they always have a smile on their face.”

Students in the entire school district can buy everything they need using a number of points, which is set on the size of their family. Students can then earn more points for their performance in school, good deeds, which teachers and staff can award points for, or completing jobs around school like helping in 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 shared. “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.” The store is open Mondays-Wednesdays for students and employees in the school district, and is also open for one hour on Tuesday for the public.

“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.”

As it comes in different forms, the true meaning of kinship is building community and caring for those in need. This store is a wonderful idea that many other schools should consider for students and families in need!

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of A Second Chance, Inc.

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