VOLUNTEERS OF THE WEEK: Supper on the Sip Committee loves their community

Published 8:00 am Sunday, October 30, 2022

This week’s Vicksburg Post Volunteers of the Week are the United Way of West Central Mississippi’s Supper on the Sip committee. The committee members are Ali Hopson, Jill Pierce, Susan Upshaw, Donna Ingram, Stacy Teller, Tammy Boolos, Jennifer Grey, Herman Smith, Lynn Foley and the staff of United Way of West Central Mississippi.  

How did Supper on the Sip come about?

Starting in 2018, Allie Hopson, Michele Connelly and Lori Burke were brainstorming a way they could raise money for the United Way of West Central Mississippi while also raising the visibility out in the community. They also wanted to have supper with one long table that signified the community coming together to break bread, enjoy each other and enjoy the community. Connelly went to a Main Street annual meeting and the speaker was talking about our iconic old Mississippi River Bridge and immediately came back to Burke and Hopson and told them the idea. They wrote a long letter to the Bridge Commission and surprisingly they responded back with a “Yes.” Then they put together the same exact committee they have right now and had a fantastic first year and just kept it going. 

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How long have you been volunteering with United Way’s Supper on the Sip?

The entire Supper on the Sip committee has been volunteering for the event for three years. It started in 2018 but had to pause for two years due to COVID-19. 

What are some of your favorite memories while volunteering?

Because of being locked up due to COVID-19, the committee mentioned that many community members have expressed how happy they are to finally get out and see people again. Such as the elderly coming to the event with their walkers and canes and having the opportunity to get out and be a part of something special. The committee also got to enjoy watching the number of people that attended and see the support of the vision and work that United Way does for the community. Overall, they also had the chance to know that they accomplished something that night.

The committee also stated that they enjoyed having the restaurants come to support their event. This annual event is a big commitment for the restaurants since all of their food and time are donated to help make the night a success. Most of the restaurants donate between 500 to 750 servings worth of food. They stated that it’s great to have these restaurants come back year after year without much persuasion as a testament to their continued support. 

Something new this year was the flyover and one committee member remembered watching the flyover and listening to Booth Buys play a Chris Stapleton song and thinking about how great it is to not just come together as a community, but also as Americans. 

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering?

The Supper on the Sip committee urges those wanting to volunteer to find something that they are passionate about and not overthink it too much. Find something that you enjoy spending time your time doing so you will want to come back and do it again. At United Way, there is always something for you to do, but you have to find your niche or skill that is useful for the community. 

What are some of your responsibilities with Supper on the Sip?

Each committee chair member has a subcommittee they are responsible for to help plan for the event to run smoothly. Some of these subcommittees include the restaurant committee, volunteer committee, decorating committee, t-shirt committee, entertainment committee, marketing committee, tickets committee and bridge committee. The Supper on the Sip committee chair members take the time to listen and learn from each other and the community then work on whatever needs to be improved upon for the next year.

What have you learned while volunteering for this event?

The committee has enjoyed working with each other and having the opportunity to work with different talents to help make the event a success. They have also expressed the constant community support they receive such as the major commitment the restaurants give and the volunteer work of various organizations like the Hinds Culinary students, the Y’s Men, Teens United and so many more. 

Any additional comments?

The United Way Supper on the Sip committee wants to thank the community for being so amazing and taking the time to invest into this annual fundraising event. They also wanted to say a big thanks to all of their volunteers, photographers, musicians, restaurants and anyone who also donated their time to help make this event a success. Also if you want to be an avid part of the United Way West Central Mississippi community check out www.unitedwayvicksburg.org or call 601-636-1733. 

If there is a volunteer who should be featured, please submit their name and contact information to volunteer@vicksburgpost.com.