Oil City market plans free Thanksgiving meal

Heath’s Market, an Oil City grocery and deli store owned by two sisters, will shut down its sales efforts next Thursday, but the front door will be wide open for patrons.

“Nothing in the store will be open. But our front door will be,” said Rebecca Colvin, who owns the market with her sister, Heidi Wise. “And everybody who comes in will leave with a full belly.”

The sisters will hold a free Thanksgiving meal that is open to all from noon to 3 p.m. at their Bishop Avenue market. The duo entertained the idea of doing the event last year but it came to fruition this year.

“We talked about it last year but we weren’t at that point yet,” said Colvin. “This year, though, we knew we wanted to give back. This community is amazing. We love Oil City, love this town,. We never thought this store would do so well but our community backed us up.”

The sisters re-opened the 80-plus year Heath’s Market in May 2018 after it had been closed for four years.

It is one of the very few private grocery stores in the region. Under their ownership, Heath’s regained its reputation as a premier delicatessen and meat-cutting store.

The decision to hold a public Thanksgiving meal was also prompted by the assortment of customers who frequent Heath’s to purchase food or simply sit for a spell with a cup of coffee, said Colvin.

“It’s Thanksgiving – no one should be alone on that day,” she said. “This will be our family’s Thanksgiving meal just like everyone else who comes in. We want everyone to have a meal and someone to eat with that day.”

Reservations will be accepted but they are not necessary, said Colvin, adding that “anyone can just show up.”

A number of local residents have offered to help serve the Thanksgiving meal.

There will be a box set up to accept donations of canned or boxed food for a pre-Christmas distribution to the Community Services agency.

“I know from talking to a lot of people here that for some, there’s not a Thanksgiving meal on their table,” said Colvin. “So, come and share the day with us.”