Portland, December 14th. Nearly 1,000 people packed the Oregon Convention Center to raise money for seven different local nonprofits including the United Way and Project Clean Slate. The benefit, which raised over $250,000, was organized by civic leader, Roy Jay. He explained the “Spam and Velveeta Holiday Event” title saying, “It reminds me of my upbringing as our family had to dine on Spam and Velveeta during my formative years. It also keeps me grounded to never forget where I come from.”
Beneficiary, Project Clean Slate, is a program presented by the African American Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with numerous community business, social service and government partners. It helps people clear up decades of delinquent and uncollected fines and penalties so they can live productive lives. Local law enforcement officials support the groundbreaking program.
“If it is a Roy Jay event, you know that many people in Portland will be there” said David Saltzman Vice President of Bank of the West who was one of the major supporting sponsors.
Highlights of the evening included a tearful story from Melanie Powell who went from homeless to hopeful thanks to Project Clean Slate, the African American Chamber of Commerce and other local agencies and business entrepreneurs. Today she is not only gainfully employed at Legacy Emanuel Hospital, but also a 4.0 student at Oregon Health Sciences University.
Toyota Dealers of Portland teamed up with Roy to give away a Toyota Prius 2. The $50 per ticket raffle yielded a winner, Janelle Brown who purchased only one ticket from a representative of Delta Sigma Theta, one of nonprofit recipients of ticket sales that evening.
In past years, Jay held the event at his east Portland home but this year had to move to the Oregon Convention Center because the invitation list went from 250 to over 700 friends, associates, colleagues and business partners.
Jay and his staff are already looking forward to 2013. Nonprofit organizations which want to benefit should contact the African American Chamber eight months in advance to be considered.