By Terri Ferguson Smith / email@example.com
The Meridian Star
Good food, music and games of chance are all part of plans for the upcoming annual Junior Auxiliary Ball.
With the theme, "Casino Royale," JA will offer fun for party-goers and numerous opportunities for winning prizes, including a silent auction, which will include several autographed items.
Silent auction items include: Adele Sheet Music; All six James Bonds cast members 16x20 photo; American Astronauts 11x14 photo; BB King guitar; Dave Matthews Band drumhead; Eagles record album; Johnny Depp 8x10 photo; Justin Bieber 11x14 photo; Michael Jackson record album; Taylor Swift sheet music; and Willie Mays 11x14 photo.
These are being provided by Charity Fundraising Packages. Other silent auction donations from businesses around town include carpet cleaning services provided by ServePro, gift certificates from Whiddon Photography, Rawson Photography and Kathy Stephens Photography, Sclerotherapy Treatments provided by The Vein Center at Rush, a Northface jacket from Loeb's, and a football signed by Brett Farve, donated by the University of Southern Mississippi. There will also be raffle prizes, one of which is a Rhino Liner spray in bed liner from Hooper's. More donations from businesses in the community are still coming in.
The cost of the ball is $50 per person. It will be held Jan. 19 at the MSU Riley Center in Meridian. The event will begin at 7 p.m. and the Humanitarian of the Year Award and the parade of presidents will begin at 7:30 p.m. This year's Humanitarian of the Year award will go to Michael Van Veckhoven.
The games of chance are being provided by Charity Fundraising Packages, according to Suzanne Helveston, local JA president.
With each ticket, party-goers will get a certain amount of chips to play the games. They'll be paid off in play money, which will be used for purchasing raffle tickets.
"You can play blackjack, roulette, craps," Helveston said. "You'll have play money and your play money is turned in for raffle tickets that go for four or five really big prizes. Your money will buy you chances to win whatever prize you're after."
Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be provided by Pretty Presentations and Luv Undercover will perform. Call (601) 938-9392 for tickets and more information
The local JA budget gets about 75 percent of its budget from sponsorships, she said. The other 25 percent is funded largely through its annual ball. Junior Auxiliary has been in Meridian since 1941.
"Everything we do is for children in Lauderdale County," Helveston said. "We have several projects in the school system."
Among JA's projects is a program members launched last year, Cinderella's Closet, which provides prom dresses for junior and senior high school girls who otherwise would not be able to attend their high school proms.
"We have collected new dresses and gently used dresses and we have sort of created a store for them," Helveston said. "They come and pick out a prom dress. They get shoes, jewelry and a gift certificate to get their hair done for the day of the prom."
Currently what is needed most are shoes and dresses sized 10 and over.
JA also works with Boys and Girls Club and Hope Village. About 50 young ladies will be helped through the Cinderella Closet project — at least 30 of those will be recommended through the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi.
"Hope Village is another one of our projects," she said. "We're there once a month every Saturday with the girls. We spend about four hours with them."
Other JA projects include Breakfast with Santa, Child Safety Day, Reality Check, Helping Hands, Community Outreach, and Reading is Fundamental.
The local JA chapter is a part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries, a non-profit organization founded in 1941 with Headquarters in Greenville. NAJA has more than 15,500 active, associate and life members in 100 chapters in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.