Aug. 10—SHARON — A back-to-school bash returns Saturday when market-goers can fill the van with school supplies for Sharon students at the Farmers Market in downtown Sharon.
The Saturday market is from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in its new location next to Quaker Steak & Lube, 101 Chestnut Ave., near the Sharon roundabout. The market also runs from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays through October.
The back-to-school event includes the collection of school supplies for the Sharon City School District coordinated by Banjak Heating & Cooling, 1382 E. State St., Sharon, with the goal of filling their van.
“Giving back to our Sharon community is very important to us,” said Jody Banjak, co-owner of the company along with her husband Chuck.
Banjak’s is collecting school supplies through the end of August at their Sharon office.
Activities for children include a planting activity by Wholly Organic MicroGreens of Brookfield; a coloring station with Sno-cones provided by the Sharpsville Girl Scout Troop No. 16356; and a large bubble-blowing activity, face painting and school supply grab bags and snacks set up by First Presbyterian Church of Sharon.
“By creating a collection event at the Aug. 12 market, the market is supporting our Sharon community and their students,” said Courtney Cilli, Sharon downtown events coordinator. “We’re also excited to have the Sharon Fire Department with their Touch-a-Truck and fire prevention educational programming for kids.”
According to Sharon City School Superintendent Justi Glaros, they meet the supply need for their students but can always use additional items such as backpacks, notebooks and other traditional school supplies. They are also in need of small toiletries such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, combs and hair products, plus kids’ socks and uniform-related items.
Part of the goal of the downtown development team is to create a stronger partnership between the market and the City of Sharon.
“The market additions have definitely strengthened our relationship with the city,” said Jeanice Ferris, president of the Downtown Sharon Farmers Market group. “We as farmers are doing a lot better this year than in previous years because more people are coming down and purchasing more produce, which increases our reach into the community.”
The farm stands accept a variety of vouchers including the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP); the WIC Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP); special ‘prescription’ vouchers for patients from The Primary Health Network; and Penn State Shenango vouchers for students. New this year is the Farmers Market Coalition’s Power of Produce program where kids 17 and under get a market buck (a plastic gold coin) to spend at any of the farm or maker vendors.
“We started this program initially to help provide additional food to children in need in our community,” said Sherris Moreira, Sharon’s director of downtown development. “Now we’re seeing the added benefit of kids connecting with our farmers and makers and learning about agriculture and entrepreneurial concepts.”
The program is supported by the market sponsors and the sale of Downtown Sharon Farmers Market tote bags for $5.
Saturday’s market will also include at least a dozen farmers, artisan entrepreneurs and community resources. Live music will be provided by local musician Steve Vuich and Red Eye Rosie’s Mobile Coffee Bar out of Beaver County will provide a variety of hot and cold coffee, tea, and lemonade drinks.
“A vibrant farmers market provides a positive impact in the community it’s located in,” Moreira said. “Besides meeting a need for fresh produce and healthier food options, they are providing a location for our community to better connect with each other, raising the quality of life in the area.”
Other market events include an Animal Charities Supply Collection Event Saturday, Sept. 16 and a Coat Collection event Saturday, Oct. 14.
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