Oh, SNAP! provides fresh produce

Published 6:00 am Sunday, July 16, 2017

Oxford Community Market has partnered with Move On Up Mississippi, United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County, Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi, and UM RebelWell to launch Oh, SNAP! Bonus Veggie Bucks, a program to make fresh, healthy local food accessible to everyone in the LOU community, especially those who are vulnerable to food insecurity.

“We are very proud of this coalition of organizations whose missions align with ours and grateful for their commitment to work with us to reduce barriers that make accessing healthy food a real challenge for so many in our community,” said market director Betsy Chapman.

A non-profit organization, Oxford Community Market’s mission is to reduce food insecurity in the Lafayette-Oxford-University Community. OXCM’s Oh, SNAP! program addresses the barrier of the cost that makes accessing healthy fresh fruits and vegetables a challenge for those on tight budgets.

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“We want SNAP shoppers to know that it’s easy and rewarding to shop for healthy, local food at farmers markets,” Chapman said.

The Oh, SNAP! Program provides SNAP — formerly known as food stamps — shoppers with Bonus Veggie Bucks, a dollar-for-dollar match up to $10 every time they shop at OXCM. The program also provides first-time shoppers gifts, return shopper rewards, and educational opportunities to encourage new SNAP shoppers to become regular farmers market customers.

“Our goal is to keep SNAP customers coming back week after week to enjoy the benefits of our positive, welcoming local food community. Every week, OXCM offers cooking demos, recipes, kids activities, music and special events — all are free and open to the public,” Chapman said. “Our challenge is spreading the word that SNAP shoppers are welcome at OXCM.”

Since shopping with SNAP at farmers markets is a relatively new concept — and there are over 4,000 SNAP recipients in Lafayette County — getting the word out to SNAP recipients is a big undertaking.

“OXCM is reaching out to community partners who can help spread the word the Oh, SNAP! Program through social media channels, newsletters, websites, community calendars, and good-old fashioned word-of-mouth,” said Chapman. “We are happy to provide your group, organization, or church with posters, digital images, flyers, and market tours.”

OXCM’s other work to make healthy food accessible to all Oxonians includes a weekly fresh food drive during the market, which is every Tuesday from 3-6:30 pm at the Old Armory Pavilion.

For more information about using SNAP at OXCM or to schedule a tour of the market, contact Chapman at 662-816-7413 or email oxcmkt@gmail.com.