Part of the Food Policy Snapshot Series
Policy name: Gunna’s Drip Closet and Goodr Grocery Store
Overview: Social entrepreneur Jasmine Crowe has partnered with hip hop artist Gunna to open a free in-school grocery store at a middle school in College Park, Georgia.
Location: Ronald McNair Middle School, College Park, GA
Population: 833 students; 15,053 total College Park population
Food policy category: Food security
Program goals: To increase access to food and household items for students and families in need.
How it works: Jasmine Crowe is the CEO of Goodr, an Atlanta organization focusing on reducing both food waste and food insecurity that has hosted pop-up grocery stores in the area since 2017 and across the country since the start of the pandemic. Crowe has recently partnered with rapper Gunna to open a store in his former middle school, Ronald McNair MIddle School, in College Park.
The store, Gunna’s Drip Closet and Goodr Grocery Store, carries food, clothing, and toiletries that are free of charge to students, their families, and teachers. Students and families can register online or at the school to schedule a day to shop Monday through Friday. All students were given reusable tote bags full of various clothing items on the store’s opening day, September 16. The intent was that they could continue to use the totes to carry whatever they wanted, including school books or groceries from the store, without anyone knowing what was in the bags, in order to reduce any stigma or shame that might come with utilizing the free store.
The store is stocked with produce, packaged foods, canned goods, and frozen meals such as pizzas and pot pies, with a focus on foods that the students can prepare for themselves and that they would enjoy. Crowe has developed connections with local farmers who donate produce, as well as several big-box stores, local grocery stores, and bakeries that donate shelf-stable food.
Goodr and Gunna together provided $30,000 to launch the store, and another $20,000 will be used to maintain and restock the school for the remainder of the school year.
Progress to date: Gunna approached Crowe earlier in 2021, asking her to help him give back to one of the schools he went to as a kid. Crowe visited the middle school and noticed that the existing food pantry and clothes closet were not offering enough or appropriate items for middle school students, and she decided to establish an in-school store there. She worked with an interior designer friend to design the space, then spent three weeks building it. The store officially opened on September 16.
Why it is important: Ronald McNair Middle School is a designated Title 1, or high-poverty school, where all students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Many of the students attending take on adult roles outside of school and may have to care for and feed younger siblings at home.
According to No Kid Hungry, almost 12 million kids in America will have faced hunger by the end of 2021. Children and adolescents who do not have adequate nutrition are at a higher risk not only for poor academic performance but also for physical and mental health problems, including increased likelihood of:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Low energy
- Repeating a grade in school
- School absences
- Social and behavioral problems, such as bullying, hyperactivity, poor attention span, lack of concentration, aggression, or antisocial behavior.
Additionally, many young people hide their hunger from others because they are ashamed of the stigma attached to not having the financial resources to get enough food. Gunna and Goodr are trying to address this issue by making the in-school store a more socially acceptable resource because it is associated with a popular hip hop artist and stocked with items that kids enjoy.
Program/Policy initiated: The store opened on September 16, 2021.
Point of contact:
John Madden, Principal, Ronald McNair Middle School
Phone: (470) 254-4160
Similar practices: Many schools across the country have in-school food pantries. However, Gunna’s Drip Shop and Goodr Grocery Store is unique in that it is stocked with students’ independence, dignity, and food preferences in mind, and because it was established by a former student who has now become a successful rap artist and serves as a role model for the current students.
Evaluation: Evaluation has not yet been conducted.
- Adolescent Food Insecurity: A Review of Contextual and Behavioral Factors (Public Health Nursing)
- Child Hunger and Long-term Adverse Consequences for Health (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine)
- The Hidden Epidemic of Teen Food Insecurity (Shared Justice)
- What are the Psychological Effects of Hunger on Children? (American Psychological Association)
- Facts About Child Hunger in America (Feeding America)
- A Free In-School Grocery Store Is Tackling Child Hunger, One Family At A Time (NPR)
- Hip Hop Artist Gunna, Goodr Partner To Open Grocery Store In Atlanta School (CBS Atlanta)
- Hip-Hop Artist Helps Bring Free Grocery Store to His Former Middle School (Good Morning America)
- How Many Kids in the United States Live With Hunger? (No Kid Hungry)
- How to Tell if a Child is Facing Hunger (Feeding America)
- Importance of Nutrition on Health in America (Feeding America)
- ‘Life-Changing’: School Opens Free ‘Grocery Store’ to Help Students Struggling to Get By (Today)
- A Rapper Helped Open a Free Grocery in His Former School. As a Teacher, I Know How Critical That Is. (Washington Post)
- School Pantry Program (Feeding America)
- ‘We Opened a Free Grocery Store in a School’ (Newsweek)