United Way to start drive Thursday

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

United Way of Eastern New Mexico officials are hoping to raise 9 percent more than last year’s goal of $482,005, or $525,385.

“It’s a reasonable goal,” Executive Director Erinn Burch said, “but I’d like to blow it out of the water.”

The organization will celebrate its fall fund-raiser campaign with events in Clovis and Portales.

Clovis’ kick-off celebration will be held from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday on Main Street between Second Street and Grand Avenue. Burch said the block party will include music, food, prizes and information booths from United Way’s funded programs, including Habitat for Humanity and Eastern New Mexico Food Bank. “They will be handing out brochures,” Burch said, “and answering any questions.”
Anyone who donates canned goods during the event can eat free Subway sandwiches and receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win New Mexico State Fair tickets, Burch said.

The block party will wrap-up with an announcement of the results of the pre-kick-off drive, which includes gifts from local businesses and campaigns at Portales and Clovis municipal schools. Burch said employees of the two school districts were the largest contributors last year. “Clovis Municipal Schools broke every record (for donations),” she said, “and Portales schools doubled their previous year’s donations.”

The UWENM campaign kick-off celebration will continue at 7 a.m. on Friday in Portales. Free donuts and coffee will be available in the square.

Burch said the events are a great way for the community to learn about the organization and catch the enthusiasm behind the fund-raiser.

“I’m confident we will meet our goal,” Burch said. “This community is very generous and very capable.”