Soup — and funding — cooked up at S.E. Works event

by: David F. Ashton, Richard Kiely, past S.E. Works board member and owner of Homerun Graphics, tastes the Apple Cheddar Cheese Soup (winner of a Celebrity’s Choice Award) made by Patty Park of Portland Specialty Banking Co., at the organization’s 10th Annual Celebration and 7th annual Soup Cook-off event.

For a decade, an organization called S.E. Works on Foster Road in Inner Southeast has been strengthening the economic health and well being of the diverse southeast Portland community, by connecting job seekers with employers.

Their efforts have been successful: In the last ten years, the organization has helped more than 10,000 people get living-wage jobs by providing them with targeted training programs.

Late last year, 285 guests attended 'Recipes for Success: S.E. Works' Ten-Year Celebration, Soup Cook-Off, and Auction'.

The gala featured their seventh-annual soup-tasting competition. Guests voted for their favorite soups with dollar bills. The 'Hungarian Mushroom Soup' cooked up by Heather Ficht, of Worksystems, Inc., earned the most donations, and was given the 2007 Golden Ladle Award.

Celebrity judges, including Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, Kerry DeBuse of Genoa, and David Machado of Vindalho, voted for their favorites. The judging ended in a three-way tie: Laura Bock, of Job Developers Network, and Pam Butterworth of S.E. Works, and Patty Park of Portland Specialty Baking each earned the Celebrities' Choice Award.

Between tastes, guests bid on a wide array of silent auction items featured on three tables. Master of Ceremonies David F. Ashton, BEE correspondent and proprietor of '', whipped up excitement as the silent auctions closed and guided guests through the evening's activities.

Then, while guests enjoyed a full-course Pacific salmon dinner, S.E. Works clients shared their success stories. Auctioneer Mitch Lambley stepped up and got the guests to open their checkbooks and bid on many and varied live auction packages. In all, $41,000 was raised to support S.E. Works' programs.

Sponsors for the event included: ON Semiconductor; PCC Structurals; Portland Development Commission; Bank of the West; CMTS, Inc.; Gunderson, Inc.; IITR Truck School; Kraft Foods/Nabisco; Lumber Products; Pacific Natural Foods; Pam Olson Farmers Insurance Agency; Portland Community College; Vancouver Iron and Steel, Inc.; Alotto Gelato; Cascade Medical School; and Kern and Thompson, LLC.