By GWEN SISSON
There’s just a few more hours left to place a bid and buy tickets for the packages available for the 2010 Egg Ball event set for 8 p.m. Friday.
An online auction site featuring nine select packages has been created and will remain open for bids until 11 p.m. Thursday. Visit http://www.eggballauction.com  to place bids and to purchase tickets.
The Egg Ball is a first-time project to help expand the reach and services of the Mississippi Kids Count program. It is the second of two special events bringing the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the University of Mississippi Rebels together for a common cause.
Last Saturday, Rebel fans hosted a “Tailgate for KIDS” at the Powerhouse in Oxford.
Friday night’s Starkville event will be held in the Club Level of Davis Wade Stadium with entertainment by The King Beez of Memphis, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and both silent and live auctions.
The event time is 8 p.m. to midnight. And even though it is called a “ball,” the event will be casual. MSU fans attending the men’s basketball game at 6 p.m. Friday are encouraged to come directly to the Egg Ball, dressed “as is” and have a great time.
Individual tickets are $60 for the event or the $100 ticket offer which includes a ticket to the Egg Ball, along with a bus ticket to Oxford the next day for the Egg Bowl and a boxed lunch.
“We may not agree on much when it comes to athletics, but I know that we all can agree that a collaboration that aims to help all the children of Mississippi is a good project,” said Nelle Cohen, one of the organizers for this event.
Cohen said funds raised from the Egg Ball will enable Mississippi Kid’s Count to continue the important work of providing accurate and reliable information to legislators, educators, ministers, health care providers, volunteers and others who work hard in many areas every day to improve outcomes for Mississippi’s children.
Kids County is considered the source for reliable data on how kids are doing in Mississippi.
“I have several friends who have written successful grants for programs that are currently helping children in our state in various ways,” Cohen said. “The Kid’s Count Data Books were instrumental to them in those processes.”
The Egg Ball will also support the Kid’s Count Annual Summit, which will be held Feb. 3, 2011 in Jackson.
“I attended this year’s Summit and was so impressed with the tremendous work that people across the state are doing,” Cohen said. “Several hundred people came together to share ideas and learn about Kid’s Count ‘Success Stories’— the programs that are having an impact on children’s lives at little or no cost. These are programs that are helping children acquire the tools they need to live healthier, safer, more productive lives.”
Mississippi Kids Count is considered the leading resource for information on Mississippi’s children, focusing primarily in the areas of health, safety, education and economic well-being.
Since January 2007, the Mississippi Kids Count program has been housed within the Family and Children Research Unit (FCRU) at the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University.
Linda H. Southward serves as the director of Mississippi Kids Count and she is a research professor in the MSU Social Science Research Center.
Southward said money raised through the Egg Ball will go to provide scholarships for individuals who work with children on a daily basis and students to attend the annual Mississippi Kids Count Summit, as well as print additional Databooks, so that every school and municipal libraries can have copies of these in their collection.
Last year, the organization distributed about 1,500 Data Books and the demand continues, despite the fact that the annual Data Books are also on-line.
Mississippi Kids Count is funded, in part, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation (AECF). The national Kids Count program began its state-level work in the early 1990s. Mississippi Kids Count is part of a national network of Kids Count state grantees.
Janet Mullins also serves as an organizer for this event. She said this will be a “great gathering for a great cause at a great place.”
“We are hoping to make this a Thanksgiving weekend tradition,” Mullins said. “We have a great band, great food, and will have a great live and silent auctions. And we are firing everyone up for the big Egg Bowl the next day!”
The first King and Queen of the Egg Ball will be crown that night. Mullins said the crowning will be based on “whoever has the highest bid placed for them at the Live Auction.”
Celebrity items and vacation packages will be the main attraction at the silent and live auctions, according to organizers.
Going to the highest bidder will be a getaway package to Beaver Creek, Colo., a Spring break trip to Destin, Fla., plus two more beach packages. Another big auction item will be dinner with MSU coaches, and cowbells signed by a variety of MSU “stars” and national celebrities, including Robin Roberts, Gary Sinise, and Sela Ward.
Local pottery, luggage, children’s clothing, and a trip to New York to see Starkville’s own Travis Outlaw in a New Jersey Nets game are also up for grabs. An overnight adult/child quail and rabbit hunt and two tickets to the MSU bowl game will be highlights.
For more information, call 325-1590.