By ANGIE CARNATHAN
iHeart Starkville Day is scheduled today from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Fire Station No.1. The event is hosted by Volunteer Starkville, in conjunction with several other service organizations, to celebrate and honor volunteer efforts throughout the community.
Executive Director of Volunteer Starkville Stefanie Ashford-Shackelford said the idea of iHeart Starkville Day was presented to her by Valerie Voigt, volunteer coordinator for Volunteer Starkville for the organization’s monthly project for February.
“I liked the idea, so I expanded the concept to align with the ‘Semester of Service’ by Youth Service America to promote volunteerism over an extended period of time,” Ashford-Shackelford said. “The volunteer team created a community service contest for our schools, local organizations and individuals that encourages our partners to promote volunteer opportunities on our website by using Volunteer Solutions. The contest involved individuals and groups participating in or creating volunteer opportunities for eight weeks to show their love for Starkville and Mississippi State University through service.”
Ashford-Shackelford said one goal of iHeart Starkville Day was to have a day to celebrate volunteers, the city of Starkville and MSU.
“The goal of Volunteer Starkville and Maroon Volunteer is to recruit individuals and groups to volunteer and connect them with volunteer opportunities,” Ashford-Shackelford said. “We have 40 community partners in the Golden Triangle Area on our website that are always seeking volunteers to assist with community events and daily operations of their organization.”
Ashford-Shackelford said iHeart Starkville Day is going to become an annual event.
“Thanks to our partnership with Maroon Volunteer Center and Starkville Mayor’s Youth Council, this will be an annual event that the city, university and community anticipate growing each year,” Ashford-Shackelford said.
Ashford-Shackelford said the inaugural event, planned by Event Coordinator/Public Relations Specialist for Volunteer Starkville Shannon Willis and Volunteer Coordinator for the Maroon Volunteer Center Darrius Magnum, will be an exciting day of activities for the family and community to enjoy.
Ashford-Shackelford said the day-long event is designed for the community to enjoy a day out of school or off work and show your love for Starkville and MSU.
“We will begin at 8 a.m. with two community service projects at Starkville Community Market and Starkville Odd Fellows Cemetery (off old Highway 182 next to Henderson Intermediate School) thanks to the contribution of Gulf State Manufacturer, a Nucor Company,” Ashford-Shackelford said. “The community service project will conclude by noon with lunch provided at Fire Station No. 1 by Little Caesar.”
Ashford-Shackelford said the festival is a city-wide celebration of the city of Starkville as well as a spotlight for Mississippi musicians. Entertainment will begin at 9 a.m. with local artists including Jasmine Murray, Jim Tomlinson, Stephanie Jackson, Mooring Line, Rod Leander, Jeffrey Rupp and more.
“The headliner for the festival is the former lead singer for the Spinners and Temptations, G.C. Cameron, who will perform at 5 p.m.,” Ashford-Shackelford said.
Ashford-Shackelford said food vendors will be at the event, including the Crawfish Hole and Snow Biz.
“We will have hotdogs, popcorn, cotton candy, drinks and T-shirts for sell to the community,” Ashford-Shackelford said. “There will be inflatables for the children, face painting and a visit by Sparky the Fire Dog. We will have our Sip and Strutt Contest, sponsored by Northeast Mississippi Coca Cola Company and Monsters. Our local businesses have contributed several gift cards, T-shirts and door prizes to give away.”
Ashford-Shackelford said in addition to the activities, the organization will also feature the announcement of Volunteer Starkville community service contest winners. The group is accepting donations for the LOVE Snack project –– a partnership with MSU Montgomery Leadership Program, Volunteer Starkville, Maroon Volunteer Center and the Mayor’s Youth Council –– to collect healthy snacks to provide for children and youth during school and after school hours.
Ashford-Shackelford said she would like to thank Volunteer Starkville, the Maroon Volunteer Center, Gulf State Manufacturers, Little Caesar’s Pizza, Shipley Donuts, Verizon Wireless, Mug Shots, Bo Jangles, Snow Biz, Crawfish Hole, Zobra’s, Tony’s BBQ, Stone Cold Creamery, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Hollywood Premier, Woodmen of the World, Modern Woodmen, Book Mart, Copy Cow, the City of Starkville, Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Travis Outlaw, Fire Station No. 1 and MSU.
For more information about volunteer opportunities contact Volunteer Starkville at 662-268-7774 or visit http://www.volunteerstarkville.org .