Our Northwest

Fire Up the Learning!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012by  Jessica Wyrick

Bright and early on a beautiful Saturday morning, there were Super Long Coffee Orderers, Supercharged Seahawks Fans and Socks and Sandals Guys working hard in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square. The event was the annual Fire Up the Learning BBQ to benefit Schoolhouse Supplies. This Portland based organization operates a volunteer-run Free Store for teachers. With WALLY’s belly full with gas and trunk stuffed with goodies for educators, giveaways for all and excited Brand Ambassadors, we pulled onto the square ready to chow down on Famous Dave’s BBQ.

A $5 donation at the door got you a plate of food as you relaxed on the brick steps, listening to the band “Return Flight.” The donations received that day go directly to Schoolhouse Supplies and PEMCO was happy match the total amount raised.

Band plays at BBQ benefit for education

Return Flight performing at the Fire Up the Learning BBQ

bike riders promote education fundraiser

Biking Billboards helped spread the word around Portland

Before the show officially began, I had the opportunity to sit and chat with Eli Madrone, the communications manager of Schoolhouse Supplies. He explained to me that teachers usually spend an average of $1,750 each year on supplies for their classroom. Madrone has teaching in his blood. His parents are educators and he has seen first-hand the visible impact Schoolhouse Supplies has on teachers and students.


As the day went on the donations began rolling in and the pulled pork sandwiches handed out. Along with the food, the event provided an opportunity for anyone to nominate a teacher for $2,500 to shop for their classroom. The Brand Ambassadors were having fun snapping photos of kids with Pencil Pete and even got a few with him.


volunteers pose with Pencil Pete at fundraiser

WALLY Brand Ambassadors strike a pose with Pencil Pete! 

The day was full of energy and support for the teachers, a group of individuals who make an impact on the young minds of future Urban Chicken Farmers and Type A Yoga Girls.

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