The Southeast Tourism Society says it's a Top 20 Event, but for Jacksonians, the 22nd Annual "Taste of Mississippi: Homegrown Hunger Relief" means fellowship and good food from Mississippi chefs, all to benefit Stewpot Community Services. Scheduled for Monday, March 29, at 7 p.m. in Highland Village, more than 40 restaurants and beverage vendors have committed to the event, including the new King Edward Grill and perennial favorites like BRAVO!, Que Sera, Sera and Amerigo.
This year's entertainment will feature Pryor and the Tombstones in the atrium and Ralph Miller in the north courtyard. In addition to the music and food, the benefit includes a live and silent auction featuring local art and merchandise.
Proceeds from the event help provide needy central Mississippians with housing, shelter, food and medical care through Stewpot's 17 programs. Event co-chairman Stan Magee says that Taste of Mississippi is the largest annual fundraiser for the non-profit organization, meeting about 7 percent of the annual budget. Last year, Stewpot raised $114,000 for its ministries, which include a food pantry, after-school programs and summer camp for children, a legal clinic, and family counseling.
"People come to the Taste of Mississippi and become more aware of Stewpot and more involved," Magee said.
Taste of Mississippi also provides an opportunity for area businesses to support Stewpot and develop mutually beneficial relationships in the community. "Being partners with Stewpot helps them and it helps us," Magee said.
In exchange for working a two-hour shift, Taste of Mississippi volunteers can purchase tickets at half price. To volunteer, e-mail Heather Ivery at [e-mail missing]., or call 601-353-2759. For more information or to buy tickets, go to the Taste of Mississippi Web site at http://www.tasteofms.org, or call Susan Frazier at 601-353-2759. Tickets are $65 each. You can also pre-purchase silent-auction items and buy T-shirts and aprons on the Web site.