SRVS Sparkling nights
Auction, food, and wine tasting gala
By Matt Woo
20th Annual Sparkling Nights
Shelby Residential and Vocational Services (SRVS) held its 20th annual Sparkling Nights auction, food and wine tasting gala on Aug. 11 at Hilton Memphis, and what a night it was.
Having joined SRVS only two months ago, this was my first Sparkling Nights, and I’m proud of the event my colleagues and I helped put together. Sparkling Nights is our largest fundraiser of the year, and since its inception in 1999, the event has raised more than $2 million to support SRVS programs, including children’s services, residential supports, and employment. SRVS is the state’s largest provider of services for people with disabilities and provides services to more than 1,600 annually.The evening began with a short welcoming speech by SRVS executive director Tyler Hampton and an introduction of our board members. Shortly after, the crowd of more than 600 mixed and mingled and ate foods provided by 17 of Memphis’ finest restaurants, including Capital Grille, Krewe of DeJavu, Libro at Laurelwood and Buckley’s Grill. Luckily I was able to walk around and sample some of the delicious samples.
In addition to food, 22 wineries and one brewery were on hand to provide beverages to guests. While guests ate and drank, they also bid on nearly 100 items in our silent auction. Items up for auction included gift certificates to various restaurants, tickets to a University of Memphis basketball game, vacation packages and more.
Sparkling nights event
The highlight of the evening was SRVS board member and volunteer John Barzizza receiving a commemorative plaque and wine bottle for his years of dedicated service. Barzizza’s commitment to SRVS spans more than two decades. When he first became a SRVS volunteer in the late 1990s, his son, John, was supported by SRVS. His other son, Justin, also was supported in SRVS’ residential program. Determined to find a way to raise money for the group that helped his family, Barzizza and SRVS board members founded the Spirit of SRVS fundraiser. The event name was later changed to Sparkling Nights in 2016.
Another highlight of Sparkling Nights was the live auction, led by WMC-TV chief meteorologist Ron Childers. His excitement and energy was infectious and heartfelt, and the crowd loved it. The evening was capped off by a moving dance by the SRVS Star Performers and songs performed by the SRVS Singers, who sang “With a Little Help from My Friends” and “Reach Out and Touch.” The party continued until after 11 p.m. as Tiger City Entertainment provided music, which kept partiers on the dance floor for the remainder of the evening
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