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Chamber of Commerce Loans Its Parking Lot to Nonprofits for Football Season

By Talbert Toole
Lifestyles Editor

Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce is located on Jackson Ave. across from the University of Mississippi. Photo by Talbert Toole. 

Before football season even begins in the LOU community, the Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce spends its summer reaching out to local nonprofits to give them the chance to use the Chamber’s parking lot during football games. This gives each selected nonprofit an opportunity to raise funds for their respective organization.

Each summer the Chamber of Commerce mails more than 60 letters to numerous non-profits offering each one the chance to claim a football weekend, which allows the organization to rent parking spaces to football patrons each game, according to Rosie Vassallo, the Chamber’s receptionist in charge of organizing the nonprofits.

“This is a great benefit for nonprofits that are a member of the Chamber of Commerce,” she said.

The first seven organizations to respond to the Chamber are the “winners” and have officially claimed a spot in the rotation for the upcoming football season, Vassallo said.

Vassallo picks one random weekend during the summer to mail the letters, which is kept secret as to give all nonprofits a fair chance at claiming one of the seven spots.

“Our first responses usually come in by Wednesday of the next week,” she said.

Most of the organizations that participate in this opportunity raise between $1,200 and $3,500 during their respective football weekend date, according to Vassallo. The Organizations typically sell each parking spot for $25-$40 a piece, she said.

The parking lot—which is located directly behind the chamber on Jackson Ave. and across from the Ole Miss campus—holds 50-60 spots for vehicles. If all the vehicles are small and compact, the lot can possibly hold up to 75 vehicles, Vassallo said.

Below are the organizations who will be tending the lot during each home game:

Sept. 8: Southern Illinois—Communicare
Sept. 15: Alabama—Lafayette County Literacy Council
Sept. 22: Kent State—Community Church Oxford
Oct. 6: Louisiana Monroe—Boys & Girls Club
Oct. 20: Auburn—Lafayette Oxford Foundation for Tomorrow
Nov. 3: South Carolina—Rolling Thunder, Inc.
Nov. 22: Mississippi State—Lafayette FFA

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