United Way to raise $412,005 for Clovis

CNJ staff

With a food fiesta, United Way of Eastern New Mexico last week began its 2005 fund-raising program to raise over $400,000 for Clovis. During the food fiesta, people were encouraged to visit 20 area restaurants that supported the United Way.

Clovis raised $392,000 last year with a donor base of 3,000 to 4,000, said United Way Executive Director Erinn Burch.

Eastern New Mexico has been an area of uncertainty with the future of Cannon Air Force Base and with residents feeling compelled to help the recent hurricane’s victims. United Way reminds local residents of uncertainties and needs within the county.

To make fund-raising efforts more efficient last year, the charitable organization merged the Curry and Roosevelt county branches into the United Way of Eastern New Mexico. Its goal — $70,000 for Roosevelt County and $412,005 for Curry County — totals $482,005.

Burch said she believes $412,005 is an attainable goal for 2006. “The money we raise this year supports local agencies next year,” Burch said.

The organization is currently dedicating time — normally be used for fund-raising efforts — to the weekend’s High Plains Yard Sale, set for Saturday at the Curry County Fairgrounds. “We are acting as fiscal agents and organizing volunteers,” Burch said.

“We’ve been working on that heavily,” Burch said. “We’re trying to keep everyone moving in the same direction as far as Katrina’s concerned, but reminding everybody that our local organizations still need support.”

Burch said much of this year’s effort is an attempt to connect with companies that do workplace campaigns. Burch said the United Way is fortunate in that regard because they can offer payroll deduction. A person paid every two weeks could give $10 a paycheck and have the same impact as somebody stopping by the United Way office and writing a $260 check.

“Because of that, we’re able to reach people who don’t want to write a big check today, but they can give a little bit over time and it adds up,” Burch said. “Everybody doing a little bit at a time in a huge company can make a huge difference together, instead of one person giving a big gift.”

Before hurricanes struck in Louisiana and Texas, most in eastern New Mexico were primarily concerned with the area’s future after Cannon Air Force Base was put in enclave status by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. Burch said it is incidents like these that make giving to the United Way more important.

“The uncertainty (of Cannon’s future) really adds a new challenge for people,” Burch said. “The future isn’t as clear as maybe it was in the past. You have to remind people, if their future looks uncertain, imagine the people who are really vulnerable.”