On-campus high school grocery store offers more than free food

Texas Health Resources. A man and woman stand in the aisles of the on-campus store.

Texas Health Resources’ program aims to tackle generational health inequities

O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth, Texas, in January 2024 opened an on-campus grocery store, housed in a portable building and brimming with fresh produce, meat and nonperishable items for students and their families. This innovative approach to tackling food insecurity represents the fifth store of its kind in North Texas. It’s part of the aptly named THRIVE (Together Harnessing Resources to Give Individuals Voice and Empowerment) program, a collaborative effort led by Texas Health Resources aimed at equipping students with resilience skills to overcome challenges while ensuring access to nutritious food options.

Students make purchases using points they earn by completing modules on essential topics like anger management, bullying and drug awareness. This approach fosters academic engagement and addresses food insecurity among students.

O.D. Wyatt High School was selected as a pilot site due to its location in an area identified as having significant health challenges and food insecurity issues. According to Texas Health Resources' community health needs assessment, the 76119 area ZIP code exhibits high rates of health disparities, including hypertension, diabetes and limited access to nutritious food options.

Ten O.D. Wyatt seniors, enrolled in an entrepreneurship class, staff the store. From stocking shelves to managing inventory, these students dedicate their class periods to these responsibilities and extend their efforts beyond school hours to distribute food to those in need. To qualify for their roles, the students undergo comprehensive training, including earning food handling certifications, civil rights training and Occupational Safety and Health Administration certification. Beyond the educational aspect, students acquire valuable skills in business management and interpersonal communication.

Superintendent Angélica Ramsey lauds the initiative for its multifaceted benefits, including providing students with practical skills applicable to real-world scenarios and addressing food insecurity within the community. Texas Health Resources intends to expand THRIVE to 10 North Texas schools by 2025 through $2.6 million in community and donor support.


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