As Needs Grow So Does Market

Highland Market Tries To Meet The Needs Of All Students, From Food To Clothes


Nic Duersch

Students work in the Highland Market to organize clothes for those who need them.

Rachael Maughan, Rambler Feature Editor

When Mindy Smith looks at the Highland Market today, she can’t believe what she’s seeing. What began as a small closet in the basement with a few cans of food three years ago has gradually turned into one of the best parts of Highland.
The closet turned into a small room upstairs in C hall after a few weeks, and then grew to the point that it had to be moved to a bigger room last December. That switch allowed the room that had previously held the food to become the Shop, which holds clothes. The room connected holds the hygiene and school supplies.
The dental and vision services provided by family support have been more advertised, and the school has been able to get bus passes for some students.
The Shop works with Romney Dental and Moran Eye Center, Friends of Sight, and doctors who work pro bono, and the Market works with organizations like A Fresh Market, the Utah Food Bank, eagle scouts, local churches, and elementary schools. Though occasional purchases are made to keep the Market and Shop running smoothly, they rely on community effort, and are thriving wonderfully.
“Between [November] and Christmas is huge, and we’ll have a big surplus [in donations],” Smith, who runs Family Support, said.
This surplus must be enough to support the Market and Shop until spring. Between the holidays and spring there tends to be a lag of donations, so they rely on the season of giving to get through.
But with all these services available, Smith can only hope that students are taking advantage of them.
The Market is talked about a lot, and everyone seems to know they can go there if they need food, but the staple supplies like flour and sugar and the Shop are less talked about. Staple supplies are divided into five-pound containers that can easily fit into backpacks and be taken home by students or parents. In the Shop there are warm coats and sweaters, along with other clothing, available to anyone that needs them this winter.
But while providing for students’ physical needs is obviously a main goal, another is to make them feel welcome and at home, and like anyone can utilize these services.
This is what Smith strives to do every day at work.
“The only reason why I do this job is really for the kids. I get a great joy of seeing the kids get things that they need, and it really is a job that when you go home at night you think ‘ok I’ve done something good today,’” Smith said. “It’s about helping people and it really does make you feel good inside to help others.”
The group that started the Market moved on when their kids graduated, all except Smith, who still has a sophomore and a seventh grader in school.
She described her job as a one-man band, only getting help from volunteers and her TA’s. Lack of volunteers is mostly felt by students who need people to drive them to new services Highland is providing, dental and vision appointments.
“I will take any volunteer, any time, always,” Smith said.
The future looks bright for the Market and the Shop, and soon a new service will be available.
Over the summer a room by the gyms will be renovated and turned into a place with a private shower, a washer and a dryer, and a toilet and sink.
Smith is also working to get more bus passes for students. Highlands location is not ideal with its boundaries, and bussing has grown into an issue, as many students have trouble getting to school. Progress in this area has been slow due to lack of cooperation with UTA, but Smith is persistent and determined to help the Highland community.
Though running the Market can be difficult and stressful, it has helped Smith and her family see what the holidays, and all of life, are about. She hopes that one day Highland can have a service class that goes out into the community to help others.
“I have a very strong belief that if you serve other people and if you serve others, there’s something that fundamentally changes inside of you and you’re more successful in all areas of your life,” Smith said. “It changes your perspective on life, and it changes how you view people and how you view even the world around you.”
This job has also shown a lot of silent good in the community, those who work backstage to help those in need. Donations quietly dropped off, money given, all to support the good that the Market and Shop provide.
“I pull into my driveway every day after work and there’s something someone has left,” Smith said. “It just makes you so happy that someone has gone out, bought something for someone that they don’t even know, and that they are going to give it to someone that maybe needs it at this time. And I love that, it’s just fun to pull in my driveway because sometimes it’s coats, sometimes it’s food, sometimes it’s hygiene, sometimes it’s school supplies. It’s like Christmas when I go in my driveway.”
The Market and the Shop have all shown the goodness in the Highland community. It has helped those who use it and those who volunteer by changing their lives for the better.

Nic Duersch
Anna Edler storing food in the Highland Market.