The student-run grocery store at Linda Tutt High School aims to address food insecurities during the ongoing pandemic.

By Meghan Overdeep
November 25, 2020
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Credit: Linda Tutt High School

How many high schools can say they have a grocery store inside their walls?

The student-run grocery store at Linda Tutt High School in rural Sanger, Texas, provides food and other necessities to students and their families while teaching essential job skills.

And the store doesn’t accept cash, just good deeds. Instead of money, students shop using a point system.

“A lot of our students, they come from low socioeconomic families.” principal Anthony Love told KTVT. “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.”

The store, which aims to address food insecurities for students and others in the community during the ongoing pandemic, is open Monday through Wednesday for students and staff within the school district. For one hour each Tuesday, ​the grocery store is open to the public.

The pioneering project is run in partnership with First Refuge Ministries, Texas Health Resources, and Albertsons. But nearly all the responsibly falls on the students. They stock the shelves, keep track of inventory, address sales, and monitor registers when items are purchased.

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“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,” Love said to WAGA-TV. “Students are really the key piece to it.”

Paul Juarez, the Executive Director of First Refuge Ministries, told KTVT that he hopes the idea is implemented in other rural areas.

 “It gives us a picture of what can be,” he said. “So, if we can do this inside other schools it will do a whole lot to help other small towns.”