In an effort to address food insecurity, a Texas high school has students running a grocery store on "acts of kindness" instead of money. It's an inspired concept that gives students the chance to feed themselves, fosters their sense of community, and encourages a positive attitude towards work all at the same time.
Linda Tutt High School in Sanger, a small community in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, recently opened a grocery store in an empty room within their school with the help of local sponsors First Refuge Ministries, Texas Health Resources and the grocery store Albertsons. The store is stocked with shelf after shelf of canned goods, dairy products, eggs, and frozen foods, as well as other necessities like toothbrushes, toilet paper, and more. The high school students at Linda Tutt run the store themselves, as Principal Anthony Love told CBS Dallas Fort Worth, stocking the shelves and keeping inventory just as they would if they were working in a chain grocery store. Apart from one pivotal difference; they don't accept cash, just referrals and points earned by performing acts of kindness.
"In Sanger ISD, there are approximately 2,750 students enrolled and about 43% of our student population is identified as economically disadvantaged," Love tells Romper, adding that he was approached by people from First Refuge Ministries and Sanger ISD Student Intervention about putting a grocery store in the school.
"It was one of those questions that you don't get asked everyday, but it didn't take long to see that only good things could come from this and getting students to work in the grocery store just made the idea even more appealing," he says.
A school in Texas has students running a grocery store using acts of kindness as currency.
Points can be earned through a number of good deeds, according to Love, and there have been many students stepping up to help feed their families. As Love shares, he's seen students "encouraging another student who was having a hard time at home with their family, mentoring another student who was upset," and "at lunch, a student was sitting alone and another student walked over and asked that student if they wanted to sit with them at their table."
Families are initially set a number of points based on how many members they have in their household and can continue to earn more by doing these chores as well as excelling in their classroom, helping teachers, or even mentoring elementary students.
Soon, everyone in town will be able to grocery shop with their own acts of kindness. As of Dec. 15, the store will open to the entire community of Sanger, according to CNN.
The grocery store has been a resounding success with students, as Love tells Romper, "The students that get to shop in the grocery store are extremely excited to shop for their families. They often ask a lot of questions about why nobody pays money to shop in the store. We let them know that they get to shop with points," noting that it helps that the students are offered loads of positive reinforcement, "As a school, we go out of our way to celebrate positive office referrals and really make a big deal out of it. We make sure to call home and let the parents know how amazing their child is and that the school is proud of them for what they have done."