Kids’ farmers market raises money for charity


St. Johns Cares recently organized Nocatee’s first-ever Kids Farmers Market at Greenleaf Pavilion, drawing a crowd of nearly 180 people shopping at 15 unique local kid vendors in support of local charities. Their efforts raised nearly $700 that will benefit St. Johns County organizations.

“We were overwhelmed by the response from our community and want to thank all of the children who handmade items to sell, and of course our sponsors and volunteers for making the event possible and the success that it was,” said Meg Balke, president of St. Johns CARES.

Kids up to age 16 were invited to show their entrepreneurial spirit and sell their goods, with the proceeds from table registration benefiting St. Johns CARES. Additional sponsors included Bartram Academy, the Learning Experience, Ameris Bank and Fun 4 First Coast Kids.

The selection of handmade wares included baked goods such as Kushava Cookies, art by Evie & Reese’s Treasure by the Sea and bracelets, necklaces and flowers sold by a group of Greenleaf Lakes children to raise money for the food bank.

Beckham Alexander, 10, sold sweet treats and planned to donate his earnings to JDRF Diabetes Foundation because he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes earlier this year. Alongside friend Sam Thornton, 9, he was happy to be a part of the farmers market because it meant they could sample some of their offerings.

“I can enjoy a few sweets like everyone else – I just have to have mine with insulin,” Alexander said. “I want to raise money for JDRF so they can figure out an easier way that doesn’t involve needles.”

Kiddie Academy sponsored a bounce house, and a variety of carnival games, face painting and a popcorn stand were onsite to benefit Sound Connections, which provides music therapy for children with special needs.

“When St. Johns CARES learned that Sound Connections was at risk due to lack of funding, they decided to offer carnival games to help out,” said Candice Sirak, music therapist with Sound Connections. “We are so grateful for their generosity as well as everyone who came out to the farmers market in support of such a fun community event.”