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Dover-Foxcroft school introduces mini market for students

SeDoMoCha Middle School now has a market for students to browse for free.

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Today in Maine, a lot of kids are relying on school lunches to keep their bellies full and minds focused. According to Feeding America, one in six children in Maine go hungry because they can't reliably get enough food.

To make sure every student at SeDoMoCha Middle School doesn't have to worry about future meals, teachers have transformed their food program into something a little different: a mini market.

The school has been running a similar food box program for students K-4, but according to Math Teacher Nichole Martin, the program evolved thanks to her middle school students who recognized the need in their own corner of the school.

"Teachers will come in with a bucket and just load up for their kids, so they at least know they had snacks for the day," Martin said. "A lot of our kids don't even come in with snacks." 

The school's mini market allows any student to browse for free -- snacks, fresh produce, nonperishables, and even hygiene products and clothes whenever they need throughout the school day. 

"They come in, and they're so loud and rambunctious like, 'What are you going to get? Oh, look at this!'" Martin said. 

According to Martin, food is mostly from Good Shepherd Food Bank purchased through grant funding and fundraising by students, alongside some donations. 

Students like Gwendolyn Atwater say having easy access to the market, goes a long way.

"It gives students and their families who don't have the chance to provide for themselves well to be able to have food," Atwater said. 

According to Martin, students that need it are also going home with Thanksgiving meals for this upcoming holiday. 

"If they're happy. They like to show off what they got," Martin said. "It's helping families especially these times where things are so expensive. It just feels good."

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