By Ross Metcalf

Consumers would not expect to walk into a supermarket to be greeted by students assisting them to shop for nutritious products. However, several Future School students volunteered at Harps to help with their nutritional assistance program on March 15.

There were four stations around the store based on the food groups: fruits and vegetables, meat and protein, dairy, and grain. The program informed consumers what they should look for when shopping, and misleading information that may be printed on packaging. At the end of the program, participants would be rewarded with a $10 Harps gift card. The gift card’s purpose was to incentivize consumers to eat healthier.

Future School students America Cruz and Yoselin Cardenas helped with the program by creating a brochure explaining the nutritional differences between canned food and fresh food. The brochure warns of the dangers of canned food. For instance, there are children who have developed allergies to canned food. In addition, the brochure included recipes.

Cruz and Cardenas became involved with the Harps nutritional program from their mentor, Charlotte Tidwell, a retired nurse who sacrifices her time and money to help feed those in need in Fort Smith. Tidwell was asked to help with the project and had the two develop a brochure.

Cruz met Tidwell through his sister who needed community hours for college. Cruz’s and Cardenas’ internship comprises of a variety of task such as helping out at the community garden, event planning, and participating in such events. On normal days, the two make sacks of food for those in need.

“I have never seen how much poverty there is until now,” Cardenas said.

“She does a lot for the community. I can learn from her and make a difference in our community,” Cruz said about interning with Tidwell. “We are always doing something different week. I do not enjoy doing the same task every day. The internship also allows me to meet new people.”

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