Social entrepreneur Jasmine Crowe has teamed up with rap star Gunna to open a grocery store inside his former school, Ronald E. McNair Middle School, in College Park, Georgia.
The store is stocked with various food items such as burgers, pizzas, fish, eggs, and fresh produce. It also has shelves displaying clothes, toiletries, and boxes of brand new Nike and Adidas sneakers.
“It’s like walking into a mini Walmart,” principal John Madden described the store, called “Gunna’s Drip Closet And Goodr Grocery Store.”
He’s right—except that every item in the store is absolutely free!
Crowe, founder and CEO of Goodr, a startup devoted to eliminating food waste and hunger, partnered with rapper Gunna to help fund the store.
The stock is replenished weekly, and there are vegan items as well as quick and easy options. The team made sure to provide items that the kids could make themselves after the principal said that many of them are “essentially adults that are making the meals” and doing everything for their household.
Parents can shop after dropping off their children at school and have the option to use an app created exclusively for this project to reserve a shopping time slot or request items.
Their children can pick the items up while at school and bring them home. For families without internet access, parents can register at the school instead.
A few days after the grocery store opened, they received several requests—and all were asking for food. That’s when Crowe knew that what they were doing was necessary.
Goodr also provided every student with a reusable shopping bag to lessen waste and give the kids the option to shop anonymously. There’s no way to know if a student has gone shopping at the store since everyone has a bag to use for anything at any time.
“Our hope was that now if you see a kid with that bag, you just don’t know what’s in it, because you got one as well,” Crowe said.
Even before the pandemic, many families at the school experienced poverty—but the global health crisis only made it worse.
“Our students have gone through a lot. Our kids will say, ‘I didn’t eat last night,’ or, ‘My lights are cut off,’ or, ‘I’m living with my cousin or my auntie because I don’t have a place right now.’ This store is going to provide them some relief,” Madden said.
Since the store opened, the school has received tons of messages from parents—many of whom are earning minimum wage—saying it has been such a great help. Because of it, students now have the option to bring home dinner for the entire family.
When Gunna reached out to Goodr to ask about ways to help his community when the schools reopened, Crowe thought he could give back in a way that would have a more lasting effect.
“I just wanted us to do something that would last and just be more sustainable and that we can continue to build upon,” she said.
That’s when she and the rapper teamed up to help the latter’s old middle school.
The store will remain open during the school year and close in the summer. Before the students are gone, all the food items will be distributed to families to reduce waste.
Keeping the store alive wouldn’t be a problem, as Gunna has pledged to continue funding it “as long as he is alive.”
As for Crowe, she has been in the business of helping others for almost ten years now. She began feeding those in need out of her own kitchen in her small Atlanta apartment in 2013. She bought all of the food and prepared the meals on her own every weekend for over three years.
Crowe hopes to collaborate with more brands and celebrities who can sponsor more similar programs so they can feed more people for free.
In the meantime, Gunna’s store plans to expand its offerings by adding resources like recipe cards and instructional cooking videos.
If you want to help the students and their families, you can donate food to the school’s front office or have items delivered via Amazon Fresh.
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