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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 13 million households faced food insecurity in 2020.

To help families get the food they need, Huntsville Junior High School opened a grocery store of it’s own.

Monday morning, the Big Red Grocery Store opened to students. In this store, items can only be purchased using points and not real money.

Students can earn points in the classroom and at other school events with their good behavior and service.

The new grocery store is part of a partnership with the First Baptist Church. According to Huntsville City Schools, Publix is also supplying the food at a significantly reduced rate.

The aim of this program is to help supplement a student’s family’s food need build leadership and job skills among students. Students will also work in the store as cashiers, baggers, and helping to stock shelves.

According to Assistant Principal Evelyn Coffey, the store is meeting a need in the community that has become especially evident during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some [students] may need it because they want it and some may need it because they need it and nobody knows why anybody is in here, we’re all just in here to shop,” she said. “We’re really able to provide support for students in a way that doesn’t bring any added attention for somebody who might need a little big of extra help.”

The store is open on Mondays and Fridays.