This school year, the students at Jean Childs Young Middle School will have one less thing to worry about now that they have a new, free grocery store inside the school.
They are the first APS school to have a Goodr grocery store on campus where students and their family members can pick up snacks, produce, juice and other groceries for free.
“This is so important to us because this is such a rich neighborhood of pride and joy and just a lot of heritage right here in this community,” Young Middle School Principal Ronald Garlington said at the ribbon cutting. “We have a grocery store right here in our school which speaks to exactly what we’re trying to do here at the school: removing all barriers so that every single student and family member has everything they need to be successful.”
Goodr, a non-profit organization that aims to eliminate food waste and provide hunger relief to communities, partnered with Atlanta Gas Light to bring the sustainable food pantry to “The Den,” an on-site wraparound support initiative that provides comprehensive holistic support for every child in social emotional well being, academic success, basic needs supports and access and exposure.
“This store is going to provide over 30,000 meals to students here at Jean Childs Young Middle School in southwest Atlanta, and we’re in a place where food insecurity is rising,” Goodr CEO Jasmine Crowe-Houston said. “But I’m proud to say that students at this school are going to know they can come right to this store in The Den and be able to access food.”
Vaneika Favors, a parent of two students at Young Middle School, filled her reusable grocery bag with cereal, fruits, snacks and more after the ribbon cutting. She usually does her grocery shopping at Walmart, but having the Goodr store at the school was easier for her and her family.
“It’s the small things that makes a big difference,” Favors said. “I live down the street from the school, so it’s really convenient for me and it helps a whole lot. It’s kind of hard to get in and get out of Walmart so it’s not the first place that I want to go.”
This partnership between APS, Goodr and Atlanta Gas Light ensures that the students at Young Middle School don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. Whether they just need a snack to get through the day or need to restock their pantry at home, they now have that resource immediately available to them.
“This is a testament of the type of partnership where it’s not just ensuring that our children are well, but our greater community as well,” APS Superintendent Dr. Lisa Herring said. “Every time I am at The Den, I’m reminded that this is a model of what we must do in public education to ensure that everyone has what they need to succeed.”