By Brianna Stiebling
The Oxford Community Market held its 4th annual “Healthy Harvest Event” on Tuesday with the goal of serving the community’s children. In past years, the event has been a major hit. Over 200 guests attended the event to enjoy the market’s activities, which are centered around education, enjoyment, and a celebration of local foods.
Although it has always been a candy-free event, COVID-19 concerns forced other adjustments to the market to avoid situations like large gatherings. These adjustments included pre-packaging “One-hundred healthy haunted harvest bags”. The goal was to put together goody bags that included healthy options like juice boxes, granola bars, fruit snacks, and local apples. Goody bags also included Halloween toys, like themed pencils, straws, glowsticks, and stickers. In addition to this, children also received art kits provided by the UM museum, and spooky storybooks provided by LOU Reads.
Although some things have changed from previous years, the Halloween spirit is still intact. Younger guests came in costume, ready to celebrate the holiday early and safely with live music and free goodies.
“I have been looking for safe ways for my youngest daughters to celebrate their favorite holiday”, said local mother, Stephanie Young. “We only moved to Oxford recently, and to see how this community gathers to provide enriching and COVID friendly activities for our young ones is inspiring.”
Preparations for the event and its modifications began in September, as the organizers reached out to customers, various student groups and other potential donors. OXCM received an overwhelming response of over 1,299 individual snack items. Due to the surplus of donations and support from the Oxford community, OXCM surpassed their goal of 100 goody bags, and packed an additional 30, which will be made available for kids in the community and in CB Webb Townhouses.
Market director, Betsy Knight Chapman, has run OXCM and its constituent programs since she was hired in 2014. With the support of her volunteer team and the greater Oxford community, OXCM operates a local market every Tuesday at The Old Pavilion Armory, from 3 to 6:30 P.M, in addition to running several programs that aim to provide easier access to farm-fresh food.
“OXCM is more than a market”, said Knight. “It is about building a coalition to address food insecurity and educate our community. Our goal is to build a local food system and food community that works for everyone from all walks of life.”
More information on the Oxford Community Market and a full list of donors can be found at www.oxfordcommunitymarket.com, or on their Facebook page.