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Joe's Night Out

by Joe Donlon

Bio | Email | Follow: @pdxpeacock

Posted on October 21, 2009 at 5:40 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 4 at 2:32 PM

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I got an email earlier this year - that I can't stop thinking about. It came from a 52 year old man named Dan, who was at the end of his rope. A single father, raising 3 small kids, who was about to lose his small apartment because he couldn't pay the rent. It was a well crafted letter from a man who was obviously in a desperate situation. He acknowledged that, and asked if I had any suggestions to get him through the end of the month, so he didn't have to tell his kids they no longer had a home.

The reason I'm still thinking about it -- is because I didn't get back to him right away. I was upside down myself, putting out my own fires. When I tried to send him an email three days later, it was kicked back as 'undeliverable.' I tried the cell number he left, and it had already been disconnected. I missed him.

This has been a brutal year, for so many people just like Dan. I wanted so badly to tell him about the Community Relief Campaign, sponsored by the United Way. It helps people pay rent, utilities, and more - and there is money AVAILABLE.

In light of that email, and much much more -- I thought our city was overdue for a 'feel good' night. So, I came up with something I'm calling, "Joe's Night Out" (my thanks to Tracy Barry for coming up with the name!). It's basically a chance to get out, enjoy an evening on the town - and help some of the most vulnerable people in our community at the same time.

I've spent the last 6 weeks, planning the first event, and I'm hoping you can join us at 8pm on Friday, November 13. We'll be at the beautiful Newmark Theatre in downtown Portland for a night of uplifting and inspirational music. Entertainer Julianne Johnson will be the headliner for the show. Several of her musical friends will be dropping in, including Michael Allen Harrison, Patrick Lamb, and Janice Scroggins. Julianne has also enlisted the Centennial Gospel Choir - some 50 members strong, along with a performance by the Jefferson Dancers. It's going to be a great night - to bring a lot of people together.

What's better, ALL the money we raise - will be going to Northwest Children's Outreach. It's a local, all volunteer organization, that operates five centers around the Portland/Vancouver area. NCO provides many of life's basic necessities for children whose parents are homeless, or living in poverty. With the money raised from this heartwarming event, the organization is hoping to open two additional centers - to help 'bridge the gap' for even more of our neighbors in need.

I would like to thank Howard Hedinger and Junki Yoshida - for playing a critical role in underwriting the costs associated with this event. Their generosity will make certain that every possible dollar raised on this evening, will go directly to helping children in our community. This event - literally - would not have happened, without their financial backing.

Most of the tickets are $20, with premier seats priced at $40 (before service charge). Tickets go on sale Friday, October 23 at 10am at the PCPA box office and all Ticketmaster Outlets. You can reach ticketmaster at 800-745-3000 or online at You'll also find a seating chart for the Newmark Theatre, at the PCPA web site.

I hope to see you on NOVEMBER 13, for "Joe's Night Out!"