By MATT CRANE
Starkville Bridges Out of Poverty will host its Summer Soiree Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Mississippi State University Bryan Athletic Administration Building.
Starkville Bridges out of Poverty Director Lynn Phillips-Gaines said the event is not only a way to raise money for the non-profit organization, but also an outlet to inform the public about the poverty around the community.
“We have to make sure people understand that poverty affects us all,” Phillips-Gaines said. “Something like this cannot work without being a joint venture from all the different communities around Starkville.”
Phillips-Gaines said gathering the resources of the medical, education, faith and justice communities has been a grassroots effort in educating the public about the need to eradicate poverty and create sustainability.
“We want to create a space where people’s time and opinions are respected,” Phillips-Gaines said. “It’s about getting the middle class and those in poverty together so that we can all learn from each other.”
Thursday’s Summer Soiree begins at 6:30 p.m., and guests will receive a wine glass for the evening and be seated at tables with selected wines and hors d’oeuvres.
Committee member Taylor Adams will be the event’s guest speaker and serve as sommelier for the wine tastings that evening.
Phillips-Gaines said six wines will be presented throughout the night and participants will have the opportunity to rate the wines. Guests able to correctly rate the six wines will be treated to a variety of prizes donated by local businesses and restaurants.
Contributing donors include: McAlister’s Deli, Mississippi State University, Harvey’s, Oak and Steel, Mak B. and Co., Vitality Spa, Flexsteel, The Flower Company, The Veranda and Bell Building Supply’s Harry Bell and family.
Phillips-Gaines and Bridges’ Operations Administrator Nina Ammon both said they are hopeful for Thursday’s fundraiser.
“It’s been a joy working on this one fundraiser and making it a class event,” Phillips-Gaines said. “We’re pouring all of our efforts into this, and showcasing what Bridges Out of Poverty is all about.”
Ammon said she is looking forward to spreading the news of the organization’s mission to a wider audience in Starkville, and thankful for the response from the community with this event.
“Bridges is such a unique concept, so we’re hoping to let people know how special this is,” Ammon said. “We want to establish ourselves as a long-lasting non-profit organization.”
Phillips-Gaines said she has been pleased with the community’s response in sharing a vision and actively working in all components of the organization.
“Emerson has been so gracious with us,” Phillips-Gaines said. “Even if people don’t want to work one-on-one with those in poverty, there is always a place you can plug in and help.”
Ammon said the contribution from the community is always appreciated and any resident can help.
“Whether it’s time, money or food, we are always grateful for people’s contributions,” Ammon said. “Any group can be involved, and the entire community benefits.”
Only 12 tickets remain for the Summer Soiree, with an additional 30 outside, bistro seats being sold for $65.
Tickets may be purchased from Phillips Financial, The Episcopal Church of the Resurrection, the Greater Chamber of Starkville Partnership, City Bagel Cafe, Sullivan’s Office Supply and the Starkville Bridges office.
The event will be hosted by a committee that includes: Taylor Adams, June Carpenter, Rhonda Keenum and Phillips-Gaines.
For more information about the Summer Soiree or Starkville Bridges Out of Poverty, call 662-418-3100 or visit http://www.starkvillebridges.com .