Partner School Stories

P2 Food Market at Potsdam HS

By Johannes Richter

The Positivity Project Club Food Market is an official 501(c)(3) non-profit food market that works to provide easy access to free food supplements for anyone in the surrounding community. Our mission is to provide students and their families with easy access to food & personal hygiene products. We hope to enrich the community by working to eliminate the stigma surrounding hunger and assistance programs, as well as eliminating food waste by allowing those who order to choose the items they want.

It’s hard to believe that the P2 Food Market has only been in operation for about eleven months as it started way back in January 2021. It all started with the very first donation from our principal at the time, now our Assistant Superintendent, Mr. Mark Bennett. He came to Mr. Davis, our advisor, and told him that it would be amazing if a group could start a food market in our school to help students and their families who were struggling to put food on their table due to the pandemic. From there, Mr. Davis brought the idea to us, and BAM! The P2 Food Market was born. 

Looking back at where we started, you could have asked me if I thought that this market would become what it is now, helping our school, senior citizens, and our entire community. I probably would have told you, “Maybe, but that probably won’t be for at least 2 years or so”. The amount of growth that we’ve had shows the difference that we’ve been able to make. Not just for the students and families in our community, but the difference that it has made for those of us who work in the food market. When we are packing the orders, critiquing our systems, even restocking our shelves, this is making a difference in us, too. It shows us how helpful our food market is to people in our community. 

Our mission with the food market is to maintain a sustainable direction so that we can continue to provide food for anyone that needs it. We do this by building relationships with our local businesses, community members, and continuing to do what we do best-helping other people. At the beginning of the year, we sent out donation lists with items for the food market. Within a week of having posted the lists, we received donations from people within our school, community, and from local businesses. The most important part of maintaining this food market is continuing to build our relationships with our community. With their support, we are able to sustain the food market. Continuous support will allow us to grow, so we can expand and offer more. 

We have systems that we use in the market to help us function and know what we need. Our most important system is our online inventory, which was created by faculty member Mrs. Lisa Boldt through Google Spreadsheets. The online inventory allows us to keep track of all the food that goes in and out of the food market. This allows us to know what we need more of and how much. 

Another system that we use is our order form, which we designed using Google Forms. This form allows people in our school, and now anyone in our community, to place an order with our food market. We list all of our items in the form and add notes if certain items are out of stock. With this form, we have an anonymous ordering system. To make sure that everyone gets their order and not someone else’s, we do ask for a first and last name and an email or phone number.

You may be wondering, “how does that make it anonymous?”

We maintain the anonymity of our ordering system by restricting who has access to the names on the form. Only two people in the food market have access to the names: our advisors Mr. Davis and Mrs. Casselmen. None of the students know who orders. Our advisor replaces the name with a number and that is all we see. It doesn’t matter who they are, where they’re from, what car they drive, or size of house they live in. What matters is that they need food because they are having a hard time providing themselves with food. They placed an order with the P2 Food Market, so we can help. That’s what this is all about, helping other people because other people matter

 The P2 Food Market has shown us what we can do when we work together and show teamwork, perseverance, creativity, curiosity and much more. Personally, the food market has helped me become a better leader and has shown me what I am able to do with the help of others. I am proud to be a part of the P2 Food Market. I am proud to be a part of The Positivity Project. I know that everyone in our food market and school are proud to be a part of this movement. 

Johannes Richter

Johannes Richter is 16 and lives with his parents, younger brother, their dog Fritz and pet bird Alby. he is a sophomore at the Potsdam Central High School and has been a part of P2 for 5 years now. Johannes has always enjoyed helping others at school and the community and P2 has helped him do this. He has the honor and privilege of being the chairperson of the P2 Food Market and working with so many amazing people because this cannot be done alone. It takes a team, because “Teamwork makes the dream work” as said by Bang Gae.