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School Opens Grocery Store for Students and Their Families, Accepts Good Deeds as Payment

One of the biggest criticisms of modern education is that young adults are not prepared for the basic challenges they’ll face in life.

While higher-level thinking and fine-tuned communication skills are crucial, so are things like learning how to change a tire, how to take care of your finances and how to run a business.

Linda Tutt High School in Sanger, Texas, has found a unique way to foster development in life skills, promote goodness, and feed the hungry, all in one fell swoop.

It started with Paul Juarez, the executive director of First Refuge Ministries, and Dr. Ann Hughes, director of student intervention for Sanger Independent School District. The two went to principal Anthony Love and proposed an exciting project.

“They approached me about a grant that they wanted to apply for through Texas Health Resources, about possibly putting a grocery store inside a school,” Love said, according to KSAZ-TV.

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With the help of Texas Health Resources, Albertsons grocery store and First Refuge Ministries, a school-based grocery store became a reality.

“Partnering with them, we’re able to provide additional food and supplies that the families may need,” Love said.

Staffed entirely by students, the store — open Monday through Wednesday — doesn’t operate like most others: You can’t pay with cash. The currency they deal in is acts of kindness.

Students do everything from stocking the shelves to managing the point system, and can earn points to spend by cleaning the school, getting positive office referrals and performing other good deeds. Students and school staff can both utilize the store.

“These points were actually given by the students, so we walked through here and decided that a can of green beans was one point,” Juarez told KTVT-TV. “It gives us a picture of what can be. So if we can do this inside other schools it will do a whole lot to help other small towns.”

“A lot of our students, they come from low socioeconomic families,” Love said. “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, helping to clean.”

It’s a brilliant way to empower local kids and ensure they have what they need while also spreading goodness. On Tuesday evenings, that invitation is extended in curbside deliveries to the local public, whose family sizes determine how many points they have to spend at the store.

On Fridays, the school helps with another local program that ensures children in the area have food over the weekend.

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“It’s not something that you see every day in a school building,” Love admitted. “I think a big part of it is about empowering our students, because many of them come from low socioeconomic families that need just a little extra support with food.”

“I think the most exciting part of it is just teaching our kids job skills that they can carry with them as they graduate high school and move on into the world.”

“Students are really the key piece to it.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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