New Roots Charter School Relaunches Free Grocery Store Program

It is with much excitement that New Roots is revitalizing its partnership with the Friendship Donations Network to support food availability to students and their families. 

Making sure students have access to healthy food has long been a core value of the school. In 2013, a 12th grade student created Free Food Friday for their senior capstone project to ensure that all members of the school community have access to healthy food. This project has been sustained since then and after a brief shift in focus during the pandemic is back in action for the 2022-2023 school year. Student volunteers help manage the program as a part of their community service work.

Now called the Newts Grocery Store program in honor of the school’s mascot, New Roots offers this weekly access in addition to daily free Farm to School meals for all students and staff. New Roots students are encouraged to help with harvest of produce at the school farm at EcoVillage of Ithaca, and with creating recipe ideas for the Farm to School lunch program. Students who choose the culinary arts elective learn how food choice relates to sustainability while helping prepare fresh and healthy lunches with the Farm to School Team.

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New Roots Charter School is a tuition-free public charter school serving grades 9-12 that is open to any young person who is eligible to attend high school in New York State.  Offering a private school education at a public school price, students prepare for lives of passion and purpose as they prepare to create and embrace new 21st century life opportunities through career and college preparation. Visit to learn more.

For more information, contact Michael Mazza, Director of Community Engagement at New Roots Charter School, at