By Morgan Cook (’22)
Among the many aspects of poverty that COVID-19 has worsened these past nine months lies food insecurity. As the pandemic continues to take its toll on the country, many are finding it more difficult to access the right amounts of nutritious food from local grocery stores, or enough food in general. However, the Linda Tutt High School in Sanger, Texas has found a creative way to challenge food insecurity as well as address another serious problem during this pandemic – feeling down.
With a little bit of help from other members of the community, the school has created a mini grocery store inside the building where students can purchase food with a unique method of currency: kindness. This is based off of a point system. Students earn points by completing acts of kindness or doing good deeds such as helping clean the school. It is through this positivity that the supermarket is able to run. With so many of the students coming from homes of low socioeconomic status, it is important to not only the students but to their families as well that groceries are easy to access. By showing kindness, the students receive kindness in return as they are able to take home the groceries with no additional cost associated…and so the community is caught up in an endless cycle of giving, nourishment, and hope.
Other benefits of the store are the skills that student volunteers learn as they work at the store – including work ethic and customer service as well as communication – life skills that they will carry with them as they graduate and move forward in their journeys.
With all the positivity surrounding this one school with one generous idea, we are reminded of the possibilities surrounding service and outreach during this pandemic. Small towns, big cities, and communities of all sizes have the ability to make monumental changes in the lives of residents and neighbors, and as we move into the upcoming year, this is something that we should continue to remind ourselves.