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Texas grocery store run by high school students gives free food to needy

Free school grocery store is open Tuesdays for community at large

A high school-run grocery store in Texas is supporting its community by offering free food to people in need -- as well as its students and staff. 

The grocery store at Linda Tutt High School in Sanger, Texas, first opened in November. 

Fox News previously reported that the grocery store was founded in partnership with local nonprofits to help students whose families were struggling because of the coronavirus pandemic

When it opened in November, it was only available for students and staff in the school district. Now, the grocery store is open to the community at large once a week.

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The store -- which is housed in an unused art room -- sells produce, milk, eggs, pasta, peanut butter, canned goods, dishwasher soap and laundry detergent. 

Hunter Weertman, 16, left, stocks shelves and takes inventory while working as a manager of the student-led free grocery store at Linda Tutt High School in Sanger, Texas. (Anthony Love via AP)

Hunter Weertman, 16, left, stocks shelves and takes inventory while working as a manager of the student-led free grocery store at Linda Tutt High School in Sanger, Texas. (Anthony Love via AP)

Community members who want to shop at the grocery store are assigned a number of points, which correlates to the number of people in their family. The more points they receive, the more merchandise they can "buy." 

However, because of the pandemic, they aren’t allowed to shop in person. Instead, they have to fill out a list and a student will bring their groceries to their cars. 

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According to school principal Anthony Love, about 130 families have used the high school’s grocery store. 

Food and toiletries line the shelves of Linda Tutt High School's student-led grocery store on Nov. 20, 2020, in Sanger, Texas. (Anthony Love via AP)

Food and toiletries line the shelves of Linda Tutt High School's student-led grocery store on Nov. 20, 2020, in Sanger, Texas. (Anthony Love via AP)

"I like seeing their smiles, seeing how appreciative they are, and knowing that they are thankful that we’re doing something like this," Hunter Weertman, a 16-year-old junior who stocks shelves and takes inventory at the store, said. 

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Students who want to shop at the grocery store themselves can earn points by working in the store or doing other tasks around the school such as gardening, mentoring elementary school students or helping in the cafeteria. They can also earn points for outstanding classroom performance or being kind to others. 

Hunter Weertman, 16, left, works alongside a fellow student to stock the refrigerator in the student-led free grocery store at Linda Tutt High School. (Anthony Love via AP)

Hunter Weertman, 16, left, works alongside a fellow student to stock the refrigerator in the student-led free grocery store at Linda Tutt High School. (Anthony Love via AP)

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Aside from supporting students and community members affected by food insecurity, Love said the grocery store is also a way to give students job skills and teach them the value of giving back to their community. 

"I’ve really seen the students take pride in working in the store," Love said. "They’re excited about coming to school. They’re excited about helping in the grocery store and just being a part of it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.