Back to school. Primary school children having school lunch at school cafeteria
NoSystem images/E+/Getty Images

A Grocery Store, At School, Where All The Food Is Free

Parents can order through an app and their kids can bring food home.

Food insecurity remains an enormous, crippling issue for families across the country. One in four families have experienced food insecurity in the past year, according to NPR. These are families who struggle to get from paycheck to paycheck and stretch their groceries out just to make it through. It’s exhausting and frightening and dehumanizing. And social entrepreneur Jasmine Crowe wants it to end. Crowe has opened a grocery store in a school in Atlanta where families can order food through an app and their kids can bring them home. This concept is about more than food. It’s about dignity.

Crowe is an Atlanta-based anti-hunger activist and founder of Goodr, a tech-based start-up that aims to end food waste and ensure hungry people in the United States are getting fed. On Wednesday Crowe shared a photo of a small grocery store she opened in a storage closet in a Title One school. The photo shows shelves stocked with dry good like cereal, pasta, peanut butter, and soups, as well as household essentials like laundry soap, toilet paper, and cleaning products. “Tomorrow I’m opening my first grocery store in a Title One school. I doubt I sleep tonight,” Crowe tweeted. “imagine a parent between checks who can order dinner and breakfast for their family thru our app and their child bring it home. I’m changing lives man, no one does it like me. Just wait!”

Jasmine Crowe’s school grocery store is a great idea.

Everything at the store is “100% free for families and students,” Crowe explained in a follow up tweet, and “will be restocked every week and featured a hygiene and clothing closet too. 67% of the children live in poverty - the principal has told me this is life for his students.”

Beyond the dry goods and hygiene items, there are also two freezers and a refrigerator stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as vegan options. Crowe hopes to see more of these in-school grocery stores opened up across the country. One high school in Sanger, Texas, also opened a grocery store in an empty room in their school with a twist. Students run the grocery store and don’t pay cash; instead, they pay with “acts of kindness.”

These in-school grocery stores offer families the chance to access food during difficult times. They can shop with dignity. They can feed their families. That is everything.