Groups making L-O-U area healthier

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Residents of Oxford and Lafayette County should be eating healthier, thanks to a $5,000 grant that was recently provided by the United States Department of Agriculture for use with the Oxford City Market. The Oxford Board of Alderman approved the agreement during its Sept. 1 meeting.

Mississippi ranks as the top state in the nation with a 35.2 percent obesity rate. This grant is meant to help Lafayette County residents who presently receive assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as “food stamps.”

The purpose of the program is to increase the diet of fruits and vegetables for families with low income in Lafayette County. A person purchasing $10 in fruit and vegetable with an EBT card automatically receives an additional $10 that can be used for the purchase of more fruit and vegetables. This voucher can be used during the same trip or at a later time.

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City Market Director Betsy Chapman said, “this is going to provide the market $5,000 to give to SNAP users which means $5,000 into the hands of people in Lafayette County.”

The AARP Foundation will start a marketing plan to reach Lafayette County residents presently receiving SNAP. This will be done in different ways including mobilization of volunteers.

Oxford is blessed to have two great markets that sell fresh fruit, vegetables and other goods. The Mid-Town Farmers Market located at Mid-Town Shopping Center is open on Wednesdays and Saturday mornings. The Oxford City Market is located on West Oxford Loop under the large white tent and is open every Tuesday from 3 to 6:30 p.m.

Our local schools are trying to prepare healthier meals for our students through different programs. Lovepacks also provides supplemental food for school-age children in Oxford and Lafayette schools over weekends and the holidays, helping make sure children are not hungry.

We say thank you to those people in the L-O-U community that are making a difference in the diets of our kids.

With these positive efforts, Mississippi can climb out of that top obesity rating spot with healthier children and adults.