If you build it, they will come.
That’s true when it comes to the healthy snack store that students of East Garfield Park’s LEARN Charter School Network — Campbell Campus (212 S. Francisco Ave.) use. Students and teachers at the kindergarten-through-fifth-grade school created their own on-site store (aka WE Learn Health Store) when a student thought school lunches lacked variety. Coupled with the fact that the institution sits in a food desert, staff members came up with a plan to provide more edible options for their pupils. Teachers donated time, food and money to get the endeavor off the ground before the end of the school year.
“Scholars found a problem with their food options in their community, and they came up with a solution,” said fourth-grade math and science teacher Sylesha Brewer.
The solution is in a former storage space, now replete with foods like fruit, granola bars, Veggie Straws, pretzels, fruit cups and trail mix. Items are purchased by staff and chosen based on nutritional value, demand (based on sales) and availability ( through vendors Costco and Sam’s Club), Brewer said. Polls on what students would like to drink and eat have also begun.
Students can buy each item for $1 or less, three days a week, at the beginning of the school day and during lunchtime. Fourth- and fifth-graders can shop in the store, while younger children get to partake via a food cart staffed by older children.