NEWS on LIFE, WORK, & PLAY in Mississippi's College Town

Restaurant Week Charity Profile: Salvation Army of Starkville

Starkville Restaurant Week is just a few short weeks away, and our restaurants are getting very excited to share delicious eats! Every time you eat at a participating restaurant during the expanded 10 days of SRW 2015, you’ll receive a ballot to cast your vote for which of our top three charity finalists will receive the $5000 grand prize courtesy of Cadence Bank. We are also pleased to award second and third place prizes as well — $1000 courtesy of Vollar Law Firm, and $500 presented by Scrub-ville.

This week, we’ve been talking to our charity finalists to learn more about their work specifically in the Starkville Community, and to find out how their organizations would benefit from the $5000 grand prize. We’ll be sharing a profile of each charity this week so our eaters can get acquainted with each one. Today, we begin with the Salvation Army of Starkville…

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How long has your organization been in operation and how was it founded?MSU-Softball

The Salvation Army began is a ministry to the unchurched. In 1865, William Booth, having left the Methodist church to become an independent evangelist, began to preach in the slums of London’s East End. In order to provide places of worship for the new converts who due to their poor appearance did not feel at home in established churches, William and Catherine Booth established Christian Mission Centers. In 1878, under the name, “The Salvation Army,” these centers assumed a military character and Booth took the title of General.

The Salvation Army is active in 121 countries and is preaching the gospel in over 181 languages. It manages more than 28,000 religious and charitable centers that minister by Doing the Most Good to serve suffering humanity. It is the policy of The Salvation Army to suit its programs to the varying needs of people throughout the world.

The Salvation Army established a Service Center in the Starkville/Oktibbeha County in 1994.

What is your organization’s ongoing mission?

The driving mission of The Salvation Army is “to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to serve suffering humanity in His name, without discrimination.” The Salvation Army helps house the homeless, feed the hungry, nourish those with a broken spirit and provide various other services to those in need.

In what ways does your organization impact the Golden Triangle area?

Food-PantryThe Starkville Service Center provides a variety of services to the 4 counties, Choctaw, Oktibbeha, Webster, and Winston, under their service umbrella. The Family Store provides services not only to clients but also provides the community with a place to purchase items at a reduced price and donate their gently used items. Fire victims and other clients are helped with furniture, clothing, and other household items in their time of need. Our food pantry supplies food donated from the community. Clients may receive food on an emergency basis. For those facing financial hardships due to emergency situations, we may provide financial assistance with utilities, rent, and mortgage. As the economy has struggled so have those in our community so the need for financial assistance has increased in recent years. With our current financial assistance budget and through the Warm Neighbor program, we are able to assist between 4-7 families a month.

FL-donationsThe Salvation Army is immediately on the scene of any disaster, providing for victims as well as relief workers. This past April, we delivered water and food for National Guard members as well as those volunteers who responded in the aftermath of the Louisville tornado. We also assisted several families with clothing, furniture, and other household items as they moved into their new homes.

Each Christmas, through our Angel Tree program, children throughout the community are adopted by community members who provide them with the opportunity to experience the joy of receiving gifts at Christmas. This past Christmas we had over 81 children from 35 families adopted in the service area.

Each summer, The Salvation Army offers children with the chance to enjoy a week of summer camp at Camp Hidden Lake in Lexington, MS. Last year, 9 children from the area experienced a week enjoying the outdoors, arts & crafts, Bible Study, fishing, and so much more.

Can you briefly share one of your success stories?

Angel-Tree-presentsOne of the most recent success stories for us comes from our Angel Tree program. We had a mother contact us about getting her children adopted because of some financial troubles that her family and recently experienced. While meeting with her, we could see the trouble and sadness she felt about her situation and not knowing how she was going to provide for her children this year. When the mother came to pick up the presents that a local group had purchased for her family, the look on her face said all that she felt. The joy and gratitude shown on her face told us how appreciative she was and just grateful not only for the work we did but also for how the community served her family this year.

Another success story came a few weeks ago when we met with a single mother who is self employed who has recently run across some unexpected financial issues. She needed assistance with her utility bill and so we had some funds left in our assistance budget that helped pay for part of her bill. She spoke with overwhelming gratitude when she left that day about how we had been able to assist her.

How do you anticipate using the $5000 if your organization is voted as the top charity for Starkville Restaurant Week?

Our goal for the $5000 is to put the majority of that money into our financial assistance budget so that we are able to assist more families who are struggling. We also hope to use a portion of the funds to assist families with back to school uniforms and supplies come August.

You’re one of our top three SRW charities! Now, tell us who YOU would vote as the top three Starkville restaurants to try during Starkville Restaurant Week?

Oh, The Veranda, Strombolis, and City Bagel are definitely on our list for the best in Starkville!

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Mark your calendars now for Starkville Restaurant Week on March 13-22, and VOTE for which charity should receive the $5000 grand prize!