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North Texas School Feeding Students Minds & Stomachs By Maintaining A Grocery Store On Campus

SANGER, Texas (CBSNEWS.COM) — It's no secret that students can't learn very well if they don't have enough to eat. So a high school in North Texas has come up with an innovative solution to the problem.

CBS 11 News first told you about the store in November. Now, CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal has a look at how things are going.

It's an innovation born out of desperation during the COVID-19 pandemic. There's now a food bank, run like grocery store, inside Linda Tutt High School in Sanger.

"This is a way to feed people with dignity," explained Paul Juarez, the executive director of First Refuge Ministries. "So if you think about it, if a mom -- single mom -- is leaving the house and tells the kids, 'I'm gonna go to the food pantry,' or, 'I'm gonna go to the grocery store,' which one has more dignity? Going to the grocery store. That's what we have right here. A grocery store."

Juarez teamed up with Principal Anthony Love to transform an art room at the school into a store that also offers job skills to the students.

More than 40% of the families of students at Tutt High are at or below the poverty level.

Teens stock shelves in the store, order supplies and can shop for food using a point system based on need. "We give our students opportunities to earn bonus points that they can use to shop in the grocery store for food and supplies for their family," Love explained.

When asked why it was important to not just give the students a 'freebie' Love said, "It's about building pride and dignity in our students. It teaches our kids life skills [and] job skills that they can carry on with them beyond high school."

And the store is also helping beyond the doors of the campus -- every Tuesday it opens up to the entire community.

When asked what he likes best about working in the store student Hunter Weeterman said, "Seeing people smile and how their day is changed. And them being happy that they know they have food and not... [that] they're not gonna wake up in the morning hungry.

An endeavor focused on students and family, providing life lessons in retail and respect.

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