Kenny Grace had considered Kroger for his first job, but now that he's getting experience delivering coffee to teachers every day at Davis Middle School, he's thinking about Starbucks instead.
Or, even better yet, a Starbucks inside a Kroger store.
Grace, a 13-year-old eighth-grader, is one of several students in a speech group at Davis Middle School under the direction of speech language pathologist Katie Cochran and intervention specialist Jennie Baker that once a week recently began selling coffee to teachers.
Proceeds from the sales go to the Smokey Row Food Bank and #Hashtag Lunchbag, a program operating under the nonprofit organization Living Through Giving Foundation that decorates lunch bags, adds positive notes and packs lunches to be delivered to homeless people.
Cochran said she was motivated to start the project with Baker and their student group after she saw on a friend who works at another school district post on Facebook about her own coffee program.
Cochran said she and Baker work with students who learn differently and require different supports than other students, so she thought it would be a good way for students to obtain job training without having to leave the school to do so.
The group ended up choosing Smoky Row Food Bank because it's located inside Smoky Row Brethren Church, 7260 Smoky Row Road, which is near the school, Baker said.
Because the pantry is in need of shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, teachers can either pay for their coffee with cash or trade with those products, she said.
One of the teachers at Davis is a coordinator for the local chapter of #Hashtag Lunchbag, Cochran said.
The student group is working with that local chapter, Baker said.
A handful of assorted donations helped make the coffee cart project come to fruition.
Two parents donated the cart and cups, students brought in coffee, sugar and cups, and an anonymous donor gave $100 for supplies, Baker said. Cochran and Baker paid for the remaining supplies with a combination of their own money and funding available from the school.
The plan, Baker said, is to sell coffee to teachers each Friday morning. Teachers can submit orders via a Google form.
"They've been really excited in supporting this with us," she said.
Meanwhile, students can participate in a rotating selection of tasks every week: taking money and making change, reading orders, filling coffee cups and depositing the money raised with the school secretary, Baker said.
The first time students sold coffee and they earned $37, six bottles of shampoo and two toothbrushes, Baker said. Their second time out, Feb. 15, they earned $33.75, two bottles of shampoo, four bars of soap, two toothbrushes, one tube of toothpaste and a bottle of soap.
As the eight students made their rounds with the coffee cart Feb. 15, teachers often asked them what their money was going toward. One student had a small card from which she recited details about the organizations. Other students greeted their former teachers.
There was a clipboard for keeping track of orders -- 30 that day.
Grace was primarily responsible for pouring coffee.
Daniel Oesch, a 14-year-old eighth-grader, said his favorite role thus far for the project has been greeting people.
"It's encouraging to do," he said.
Grace, meanwhile, said he appreciates the project's real-world applications.
"I get an opportunity to practice for a real job," he said.