JA of Starkville hosts Kentucky Derby Charity Event

Attendees of the eighth annual Junior Auxiliary of Starkville Kentucky Derby charity event browse the silent auction Saturday afternoon, the proceeds of which benefit JA’s programs to enhance the lives of children in Oktibbeha County. (Photo by Mary Rumore, SDN)
Staff Writer

The Junior Auxiliary of Starkville hosted the eighth annual Kentucky Derby charity event and golf tournament Saturday evening to benefit the children of Oktibbeha County.

JA charity event co-chair Caroline Skelton said this year’s event saw over 400 attendees and 88 people participated in the golf tournament.

Skelton said all the money raised during the event goes toward JA’s nine projects that benefit Starkville and Okitbbeha County’s children.

“The big programs are the backpack program where, on Fridays, we send home food for students who are on reduced or free lunches so they have food throughout the weekend,” Skelton said. “Our other big project is with T.K. Martin. We do a monthly activity with the children there, and we raise money to support them with different activities they do there within their school.”

SA program chair and Kentucky Derby charity event co-chair Sarah Smitherman said $5,000 raised during the night’s silent auction would go toward the T.K. Martin Center.

“We had a $25,000 endowment to the T.K. Martin center that we filled in two years instead of the allotted five years, and this $5,000 adds to that endowment,” Smitherman said.

Skelton said the money raised during the charity event also supports Starkville Park’s Safety Town campaign that teaches children safety and provides them with bicycle helmets.

The event featured a silent auction with items donated from individuals and businesses throughout the community, bourbon tasting by Scotty’s Wine and Spirits, the golf tournament sponsored by Carite in Louisville, decorations by Fleur de Lis and The Flower Company, live music by the Regrettes and a Mexican inspired meal in recognition of Cinco de Mayo. This was the second year for Cadence Bank to sponsor the event.

“We’re so happy to be hosting this event at the newly-renovated Starkville County Club and to be able to host the golf tournament here too,” Skelton said.

Smitherman said JA appreciates all those who sponsored and attended the event, allowing JA to give back to their community.

“Junior Auxiliary is so excited to have the support of the community allowing us to make our projects possible to benefit the children of Oktibbeha County,” Smitherman said.