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Oxford Resource Fair Set for June 17

By Erin Garrett

University of Mississippi

The Oxford Resource Fair, set for June 17 at the Oxford Activity Center, is intended to provide local residents with information about housing, education, wellness and financial counseling resources in the area. Submitted photo

On Saturday (June 17), more than 25 community and University of Mississippi organizations will partner to provide local residents with information about housing, education, wellness and financial counseling resources in the area.

The Oxford Resource Fair is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Oxford Activity Center. The free event is hosted by the university, Oxford-Lafayette Branch of the NAACP and MississippiCare.

“Many of the people that live here don’t know what is available to them,” said Ruth Ball, president of the NAACP branch. “Our residents can come to this event and find out exactly what is available in the community and how to get in contact with that resource. 

“From my perspective, there’s no better way for them to learn about what is available.”

The university’s Grisham-McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement and Center for Community Engagement are prominently involved in planning the event, which is held the morning of Juneteenth celebrations in Oxford. Some community partners that will be in attendance include More Than a MealNorth Mississippi Rural Legal Services and the American Red Cross.

MississippiCare is a local, federally qualified health clinic. The nonprofit provides primary care, regardless of ability to pay. Karen Allison, MississippiCare community development coordinator, has worked with the university and other community partners to host similar events since 2021.

“It’s so important to connect people to services, but a pleasant surprise is when the organizations can connect with each other during these events,” Allison said. “The whole reason we exist is to get services out to those in need, and we are more effective when we work together.”

Ball came up with the idea for a resource fair after hosting a successful health fair event in October 2022. The health fair, which was also co-hosted by MississippiCare and Ole Miss, distributed 160 coats to children in low-income households, administered flu shots and COVID-19 boosters at no cost, and provided free blood glucose and mental health screenings.

“As president of our local NAACP, I’m always concerned with our community members and how best to serve them,” Ball said. “I want this new event to help them be better informed so they can use these resources as needed.”

Dayton Ashby, an AmeriCorps VISTA member who works with the Grisham-McLean Institute, serves on the planning committee for the event.

“This marks my second resource fair as an AmeriCorps VISTA, and I am immensely proud of the collaborative effort poured into this initiative by the NAACP, MississippiCare and the university,” Ashby said. “While resources hold significant value, accessibility to those resources is just as vital. 

“Witnessing the transformative impact of these fairs firsthand, I can’t wait to see how many families are able to improve their quality of life.”

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