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Celebrate summer with food, music and raffles in Rockwood

Farmers market provides promotions, fun for families -

PMG FILE PHOTO - A local farmers market in 2014.Come celebrate food, family and sunny skies at the Rockwood Farmers Market Summer Celebration from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 31. The Rockwood Farmers Market is located next to the Plaza del Sol, 187th Avenue and Southeast Stark Street.

A free, nutritious lunch will be served from noon to 1 p.m. to children ages 1 to 18. Throughout the day, attendees can look forward to activities such as face painting, a photo booth, raffles for $30 Albertsons gift cards, a chance to meet local farmers and, for the first 50 children, a $3 market coupon to participate in a fruits- and vegetable-themed scavenger hunt.

Local musicians, the Rock ‘n Roll Fairy and guitarist Tito, will provide music, while food vendors will provide global — and affordable — cuisine.

Sunday’s Summer Celebration was co-created by the same team that turned the Rockwood Farmers Market into a summer meal site, where free meals are available every weekend for children ages 1 to 18. These community partners include the Volunteers of America, Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon, Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon (PHFO), Gresham City Councilor Lori Stegmann and others.

“People are really excited about it,” said Marcella Miller, of Partners for a Hunger-Free Oregon.

The Rockwood Farmer’s Market “has been unique,” said Miller. The site is one of Oregon’s few farmers markets, and one of its only weekend sites, in the state to participate in the Summer Food Service Program.

In Multnomah County, 23.6 percent of children go hungry, and are without reliable access to sufficient amounts of nutritious food.

Summer meals can be an asset to households with tight food budgets in the summer. Families often face more than a $300 a month spike in food costs when children are out of school and don’t have access to school meals.

In the Reynolds School District, adjacent to the Plaza del Sol, 74 percent of students are eligible for free and reduced lunches.

Participation also keeps summer meals available, Miller said.

“It’s a difficult program to run when not enough children know about it,” Miller said.

Miller noted that the program reaches about 40 children weekly, but the farmers market and its summer meals program still have room to grow.