February 27, 2013 9:52:31 AM
Convention and Visitors Bureau officials nominated three local charities - Sally Kate Winters Family Services, Oktibbeha County Humane Society and the Reclaimed Project - to compete for a $5,000 donation during March's inaugural Starkville Restaurant Week.
SCVB Board members chose the three 501(c)(3) organizations based upon the amount of unique votes the charities received and their ability to draw interest during the March 18-24 event. The committee received more than 1,100 total submissions.
Starkville Restaurant Week will highlight the city's culinary culture, Greater Starkville Development Partnership CEO Jennifer Gregory said, while also promoting these three area organizations' philanthropies. Participating restaurants will develop signature menus to spotlight that location's unique character.
"We were overwhelmed by the number of nominations we received. The top three charities that were chosen displayed a clear ability to mobilize supporters for the nomination process, and we look forward to that same effort being generated to get supporters in the restaurants," she said. "The charities are unique and reach different groups of people through their missions. We are thrilled to be able to promote and highlight these charities which have done their part to support the restaurant week program."
Diners who eat at a participating restaurant that week will receive a ballot where they will vote for one of the three charities. The organization with the most votes by the end of the week will receive a $5,000 donation.
Approximately 20 businesses have agreed to participate in Starkville Restaurant Week, Gregory said, but more are expected to join before the event begins.
The West Point-based Sally Kate Winters Foundation offers social and family support services to area children and adults. The organization was founded in 1990.
Oktibbeha County Humane Society promotes domestic animal welfare through education, sheltering, adoption and sterilization services. OCHS was founded in 1978, and it serves Starkville and Oktibbeha County.
The Starkville-based Reclaimed Project was founded last year. The organization assists families wishing to adopt by providing grants, connecting prospective families with mentors and educating the public about current adoption needs.
"At the end of restaurant week, we hope to have seen positive economic impact, promotion of our restaurants, the placement of Starkville as a restaurant destination and the philanthropy component of recognizing a local organization that can positively affect our community," Gregory said.
The city currently levies a two-percent food and beverage tax which funds community development projects for Starkville and Mississippi State University. Gregory said she hopes Starkville Restaurant Week provides additional revenues through the tax.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch
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