March 29, 2013 11:01:53 AM
After nearly 10,500 votes were counted, the Oktibbeha County Humane Society was announced as the winner of Starkville's Restaurant Week at a press conference in front of Cadence Bank Thursday.
"We just want to thank everyone for supporting us," OCHS Board of Directors Vice President Ardra Morgan said. "Thank you for being willing to step up and make a difference in the community, whether you voted for us or one of the other organizations."
To begin the week, Starkville Conventions and Visitors Bureau officials nominated three local charities, OCHS, Sally Kate Winters Family Services and the Reclaimed Project and asked 32 area restaurants to give patrons who ordered entrees a ballot to vote for one of the three.
The Dispatch reported Thursday that the week-long event garnered 10,432 votes, almost 5,000 more votes than similar events in Jackson, which have topped out at about 6,000 votes.
OCHS won by 641 votes, and was presented a $5,000 donation by the SCVB.
Morgan said OCHS will use the money to continue supporting their daily commitment to the animals that are entrusted to the organization, but also to provide some funding to OCHS's spay and neuter program and awareness education for that program.
"These are our best chances at curbing pet overpopulation," Morgan said. "Oktibbeha County has actually been doing pretty well, we have seen our numbers flip flop, but pet overpopulation is a big problem everywhere."
Morgan said the impressive turnout in votes shows the caring and giving nature of Starkville and the people who live here.
"We really feel like we are in a good, good place," she said. "We will all continue to benefit from this out pouring from the community."