We provide a support system and continuum of care to Starkville residents that will improve the chances of finding and maintaining stability. Our efforts within the community focus on four main pillars: food insecurity, homelessness, housing insecurity and community advocacy. We work closely with nonprofits, organizations, churches and groups to fill in the gaps and provide a more efficient support system for those in need in Oktibbeha County.
Who We Are
Starkville Strong was started as a Facebook group to help support Starkville small businesses and restaurants during the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic. As more of our community's needs became visible, Brandi Herrington took over leadership of the organization and Starkville Strong expanded its efforts to include addressing issues surrounding local food insecurity, housing insecurity, homelessness and the creation of a sustainable social support network in Starkville.
Starkville Strong officially became a 501(c)3 non-profit in May 2021. During our growth and outreach, we have transitioned and adapted the organization to better serve and impact the Starkville area as a whole. We have spearheaded a number of community-minded projects, focused on collaboration within the community, and we continue to find new ways to serve our neighbors.
What We Do
Making A Difference
Addressing Food Insecurity
Feeding the Need
Oktibbeha County is one of the most food-insecure areas in the entire state of Mississippi. Starkville Strong has been working to meet that need by setting up and maintaining 7 free little food pantries. Pantries are filled from Starkville Strong's overflow pantry up to three times daily, but we also invite any community member to join us in making sure our neighbors have food on the table.
Starkville Strong also uses our volunteer network to make food and hygiene sack deliveries to our clients who might not have easy access to the free little food pantries or the overflow pantry.
In addition to these efforts, we provide Starkville Strong clients with food and hygiene sacks upon completion of intake and follow up appointments. Our outreach also extends to food and hygiene sack giveaway events throughout the year.
Helping The Community
Starkville Strong has been working hard to address the issue of homelessness in our community. We have been vocal advocates for our homeless neighbors with the Mayor, the Board of Aldermen, and the Oktibbeha County Supervisors. We have also partnered with other organizations such as Mississippi United to End Homelessness (MUTEH) and the SOCSD Discovery Center to help our clients move out of homelessness and into stability and independence. For more information about our most up-to-date efforts addressing homelessness, please reach out to a member of our team or click on the "More Info" button.
Filling the Gaps
In August 2021, 65+ tenants were evicted all at once, creating Starkville's largest mass eviction to date. Due to no fault of their own, tenants' leases were not renewed. Starkville Strong and the NAACP worked together to help those affected and during the momentum of this crisis, we banded together to make change for those who needed us most.
The well-documented conditions of these apartments and our efforts to assist those in the midst of crisis in "China Town", made local, state, national and international news. During this movement and rallying of community support, we helped uncover real stories of people living in horrible conditions around Starkville.
Many low income apartment complexes were in the habit of increasing rent, making minimal repairs and multiplying their list of code violations. A pattern emerged. When the deadline for repairs and code corrections approaches, most property owners sell, which starts the time limit all over again for getting the property up to code. Due to this, nearly an entire apartment complex on the west side of town was slated to be torn down. Some legal action allowed that decision to be revoked and renovations are taking place. This is progress, but we need to extend the efforts to all housing structures in Oktibbeha County.
Catherine Street was strike three in a series of discoveries, which exposed the uninhabitable conditions some of our most underserved neighbors have been living in. We have since found strike 4 and 5, which fuels our mission to address housing instability and create housing reform for families and individuals in Oktibbeha County. To learn more about these efforts or offer support, click the link below or donate today.
Our three main concerns are:
A - Affordability
H - Habitability
A - Availability