When most of us make a trip to the grocery store, we pay with credit cards, cash, and coupons. But for a unique supermarket that’s been set up at a North Texas high school, the cost of staples is good deeds. And the change? Human kindness and valuable life lessons.
The unique enterprise, set up with the aid of Texas Health, Albertsons, and First Refuge Ministries, has been a boon to the students, families, and faculty that form the close-knit Linda Tutt High School community in Sanger, Texas.
Students purchase goods via a point system. The currency is based on completing criteria such as helping clean up around the school and forms of positive reinforcement.
“A lot of our students come from low socioeconomic families,” school principal Anthony Love said in an interview with CBS. “It’s a way for students to earn the ability to shop for their families. Through hard work, you can earn points for positive office referrals. You can earn points for doing chores around the building or helping to clean.”
But aside from being able to help families cope with food insecurity, students who participate in the program on the sales side are also learning about everything from math and supply management to customer service and a solid work ethic; lessons that will serve them in good stead when they start to look for first jobs.
“We all had our first jobs and it taught us how to work, and what you got for your work,” said Sanger’s mayor, Thomas Muir. “I think this will do that for them too, and [also] meet an immediate need.”
Hunter Weertman, the grocery store’s student manager says he’s already learned important life skills such as budgeting and making good spending choices based on what you’ve got.
In addition to partnering with local food drives and other neighborhood initiatives, its founders hope that once the program hits its stride, this good deed grocery store can serve as a pilot program for other small communities where food insecurity has become an all-too-common way of life.