At Starkville Strong, our mission is to bring the community together by fostering a sense of unity and collaboration to serve the underserved and work collectively to build a support system. Our focus is on food insecurity, housing instability, homelessness and community advocacy.
We firmly believe that by joining forces and harnessing the collective power of compassion, empathy, and action, we can make a lasting and positive impact on the lives of those who face adversity and hardship. Our aim is to bridge gaps, break down barriers, and create a community where everyone feels valued, supported, and empowered.
Through various programs, initiatives, and partnerships, we strive to address the unique needs and challenges faced by the underserved members of our community. We are committed to offering essential resources, including but not limited to food, hygiene, healthcare, education, housing, employment opportunities, and social services, to uplift individuals and families in need.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” — Mother Teresa
After three and a half years of running Starkville Strong, I’ve found myself wondering has it been enough. Am I doing enough? Have I fought hard enough for the things I believe in? Am I being an advocate that pushes steadfast for real change and invites others to join me in the fight.
Recently I’ve been told more times than I can count that generally and as a whole, the city of Starkville doesn’t really care about those who are struggling to put food on the table, find and keep affordable housing, increase their income through better employment, pay their light bills on time, or make sure their children have Christmas presents to open. I refuse to believe this is true. I refuse to believe this is the world I live in and that I’m raising my son in.
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
If your mindset is that people in poverty or those who are struggling are simply reaping the consequences of their actions, then you need to spend a week with Starkville Strong. If your belief is that we all have access to the same opportunities and some choose to not take advantage of those opportunities, please, please trust me when I say this is not accurate.
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt
Our mission is NOT to feed someone for a day. The vision is not to simply provide emergency assistance for the person who is just having a rough month. Our goal is to holistically provide a support system for the whole person, which means studying their situation, learning about their past, listening to their current circumstances and then making a plan together to help them live a more fulfilling and less stressful life. No matter what path our clients arrive on, we help them choose a better one and then walk with them down that path.
Our goal isn’t to be reactive; it’s to be proactive. Reactivity leads to a constant state of survival mode, both for our clients and as an organization. Some days feel like we’re treading water, but I believe if we continue to work together to address flaws in the system and policies and issues within our power to influence, then we can continue on this journey to make a stronger and better Starkville.
What we can’t do is ignore those who are different than us. We can’t judge a book by its cover and we certainly shouldn’t assume any one person is more or less deserving of support based on their socio-economic status. And if you continue to put your trust in us to fight these issues, I promise we won’t give up.
“We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.” — Mother Teresa
All humans on this Earth have the capability to dig deep and find compassion for what others are going through. Most humans have an intrinsic need to care for others. Fewer humans act on it.