In my last article, The Decline of Community, I spoke to the need to get involved and give to the concept of community in word and deed as much or more than in money. The holiday season is a season of giving, but how many of us think to give to the community in the busy season? Giving isn’t always an action; it can be THE gift. Giving time to a local charity or giving food to a local food bank are just a couple of wonderful ways that you can give to your community. But what if your gift could be inspiring others to give?
In the previous article, I referenced Mayberry as a superlative goal many of us strive to return to in our own community. In eight years running, The Andy Griffith Show only had one holiday show. Generosity, compassion and love were echoed through the episode’s storyline that included a grinch community member being shown the true spirit of Christmas at the Mayberry jail. Christmas was celebrated by Mayberry citizens of all types: young, old, rich, poor, jailed and free. Aside from the Scrooge-esque character finding his heart and giving toys to the children, there were very few materialistic references to gift-giving. “Our basic theme was love. Everything sprang from love and understanding one another and hoping the best for one another,” said Griffith about his Christmas episode. I cannot think of a more fitting description for the concept of community.
This holiday season, the Christmas Spirit is alive in Warwood thanks to Warwood Farmers Market, Grow Warwood Pride and Warwood School. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at Warwood School, Warwood Farmers Market is packing two gymnasiums full of Christmas Spirit and more than 50 local crafters, direct sales representatives and farmers market vendors!
“We wanted to bring the sense of community from our summer farmers market to a Christmas market in Warwood,” Christmas Market Chair Eric Blend said. “We agreed the theme of giving was a perfect integration. By buying local, you are supporting your community members, keeping money in your local economy, and giving a gift of hope for the future of the community.”
“We wanted to bring the sense of community from our summer farmers market to a Christmas market in Warwood. We agreed the theme of giving was a perfect integration. By buying local, you are supporting your community members, keeping money in your local economy, and giving a gift of hope for the future of the community.” — Christmas Market Chair Eric Blend
Support does not stop at the vendors either; proceeds from the Christmas Market will benefit continued programming for next season’s Warwood Farmers Market and Warwood School. Now, your gift to a loved one can benefit your loved one, your community’s school and your community! Warwood Farmers Market changed its tagline for this market to include everyone who stands to benefit: Support local, support education, support community!
The Christmas Market will include local handmade crafts, such as baskets, pottery and cutting boards, as well as direct sales vendors from Tupperware, Jamberry, Scentsy, Thirty-One, Paparazzi Jewelry, Mary Kay, Lularoe, Pampered Chef, Color Street Nails, Avon and more. With more than 50 vendors planning to join us, you will be able to cross almost anyone off your shopping list. Give your loved one a gift that speaks to what your community has to offer.
If you are shopping for your four-legged friend, the Christmas Market will have you covered with stocking stuffers and gifts from inaugural farmers market vendor Zeb’s Barky Bites. Don’t need any gifts? Come get a Centre Market Bakery treat and some fresh coffee from SweetZeke’s Coffee to enjoy the festive holiday spirit and the best in community. There will be something for everyone, including a few crafts and surprises for the kids. If you are still thinking, “What does this have to do with me?” the Warwood Farmers Market has teamed up again with the local Cub Scout packs to collect food and toys for local food pantries and children in need of a great Christmas. There are so many ways to give the gift of giving just by participating in community!
Warwood Farmers Market and Grow Warwood Pride are always looking for volunteers, too, so if you wish to give a little more, we will take any contribution you wish to give to our Christmas Market. Your generous donation will fund future programming of Warwood Farmers Market, future community-building, and beautifying projects of Grow Warwood Pride.
In order to get back to Mayberry, we need to start living like Mayberry: focusing on what matters — community. Come participate in community in a way that benefits several good causes and give the best gifts of all this Christmas season: hope and community. The Mayberry community awaits you, but you must make an effort to participate in community to have THAT community. We falter as a community when we isolate ourselves from it; community is not a spectator sport. Come join us at the Christmas Market, sponsored by the Warwood Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Dec. 8, at Warwood School. We’ll be the ones in the gym with the Christmas Spirit you can feel from the street.
• Matt Rafa s a pharmacist serving the Warwood community for six years. He is the employed pharmacy director for the West Virginia Pharmacy Association, vice president of the Warwood Lions Club, a founder of Grow Warwood Pride, market chair of the Warwood Farmers Market and vice president of programs for the Boy Scouts Ohio River Valley Council. He has served each of these organizations for a combined 17 years.