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Oxford Community Market's "Oh SNAP" Program Aims to Make Healthy Food Accessible to Everyone

Every Tuesday afternoon from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Old Armory Pavilion, the Oxford Community Market provides a family-friendly environment and fresh locally-grown food. Vendors at the Market sell healthy, local, and sustainable goods to Oxford residents, but the Market is doing much more for Oxford than simply providing customers with a place to shop.
The Market is also providing opportunities for lower-income families to have access to healthy food through the “Oh SNAP” program.  SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, more commonly known as “food stamps”, is a federally funded program that assists eligible families with resources to purchase healthy food from the market.  
“In Lafayette County, there are over 5,000 SNAP users, and half of those are children,” Market Director, Betsy Chapman said. 
Since the Market began in 2013, it has embraced the “Oh SNAP” program, and it continues to work to provide as many Oxford residents with as much access to healthy food as possible.
The Oxford Community Market does their best to give the 5,000 SNAP recipients incentive to buy from their vendors.  The Market does this by providing opportunities such as rewarding first-time and returning SNAP shoppers to encourage them to become regular customers.  

The most recent program that the Market is providing for SNAP customers is called “Bonus Veggie Bucks.”  This is a partnership with Move on Up Mississippi, United Way, RebelWell, and Baptist Memorial Hospital to provide shoppers with a “dollar-for-dollar match up to $10 every time they shop at the Oxford Community Market.”    
“We are trying to get the word out to the community about this program whether through posters, newsletters, our website, or word-of-mouth,” says Chapman, “we would be glad to provide anyone with the materials or digital images to help spread the word about the ‘Bonus Veggie Bucks’ program.”

The “Oh SNAP” programs such as “Bonus Veggie Bucks” do not only benefit the consumers but, help the local vendors as well.
“A dollar is a dollar, whether it comes from SNAP or through cash, etc. So no matter what, the vendors are growing their businesses and contributing to the local economy,” says Chapman.
The Oxford Community Market is a place with a fun, family-friendly atmosphere where Oxfordians can enjoy live music, free children’s activities, and local food, but it’s also a place that is striving to better the community by making healthy food available to everyone.

Haylee Holeman is an intern for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at haylee.holeman@gmail.com

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