We’re continuing this week with profiles of our top three Starkville Restaurant Week charities. Eaters during the week will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite featured charity EVERY time they eat. We are proud that all three charities will receive a monetary prize this year. The grand prize of $5000 will be presented by Cadence Bank, our charity sponsor. In addition, the 2nd and 3rd place charities will receive $1000 and $500 respectively, courtesy of SGK Landscapes, Inc and Insurance Associates. We’re counting on YOU to cast your vote often during the week of March 17-23 and continue to raise awareness about these three worthy charities.
Our featured charity today is Homeward Bound, an organization focusing on providing homes for displaced animals with adoption-guaranteed shelters. Read on to find out more about their mission and goals.
How long has your organization been in operation and how was it founded?
The Homeward Bound Project was started in 2007 by three Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine students who noticed the imbalance between the large supply of adoptable dogs in the South and the demand for them in some areas of the Northeast. They set to work creating the first successful transport program developed and operated by veterinary students.
What is your organization’s on-going mission?
We work with Mississippi partner shelters to take adoptable puppies and adult dogs from shelters in Mississippi and transport them to adoption-guaranteed partner shelters in New York and New Hampshire. We also run a small foster-based rescue to help local abandoned puppies and dogs.
In what ways does your organization impact the Golden Triangle area?
Our community volunteers ensure the success of Homeward Bound. Many Golden Triangle families foster our adoptable dogs to prepare them for their trip up North. They give their time and resources to help these dogs get to their forever homes. Homeward Bound allows our community to be a part of helping solve the pet overpopulation issue and participate in a program that ensures good, loving homes for our state’s homeless animals.
Can you briefly share one of your success stories?
In 2011, one of our volunteers took on a dog from a pet hoarding situation. The dog had the most severe case of mange that we had ever seen, and even after months of therapy it was clear that Amelia would never look “normal,” especially her face. Just as we were wondering whether anyone would ever adopt her, our New Hampshire partner shelter stepped up and took Amelia for placement. A month later we got an email from Amelia’s new family who has a daughter with some developmental disabilities. They described their visit to the shelter and being introduced to Amelia, who instantly bonded with their daughter. Amelia and her new family continue to do well.
How do you anticipate using the $5000 if your organization is voted as the top charity for Starkville Restaurant Week?
Although started at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Homeward Bound is run entirely on donations and small grants. The student volunteers are responsible for raising funds and finding foster families. Without the good people of Mississippi and dedicated volunteers and students, this program could not exist.
We have always wanted to have a medical fund that we could use when a dog from a Southern shelter has been selected for a transport and needs additional veterinary care before they can be transported.
You’re one of our top three SRW charities! Now, tell us who YOU would vote as the top three Starkville restaurants to try during Starkville Restaurant Week?
Usually after a busy transport morning, several of us head to Sweet Peppers Deli for lunch and dessert. We also like eating at City Bagel and The Veranda. We are grateful to all of the businesses participating in this project! Thank you!