By Gabriel Monte: Freedom Newspapers
The United Way of Eastern New Mexico kicked off its 2007-2008 fund-raising campaign Thursday with a block party on Main street.
The group’s goal is to raise $560,000, which is $30,000 more than it collected last year, according to United Way Executive Director Erinn Burch said.
People who donated three or more cans of food were served hamburgers and drinks.
“People like to come out for free food, but this way, they give little bit, they get a little bit,” Burch said. “It’s just a give and take kind of thing.”
Donors of the most canned food won a community spirit award in the form of a trophy. Dave’s Coachcraft, which donated about 136 cans of food, won the trophy.
Several United Way-funded organizations set up booths on a blocked-off part of Main street.
“The block party is a way to get people to come out, have some fun, have some free food (and) visit some agencies who are putting United Way Funds to use,” Burch said.
She said the organization’s fund-raising goal is $30,000 more than what it raised last year.
The United Way uses the money to support 44 programs from 17 charities in Curry and Roosevelt counties, according to Burch.
“When you give to United Way, you’re money stays local and really touches local families and makes a difference right here,” she said.
The canned food from the party was donated to the Eastern New Mexico Food Bank.
The food bank also has programs supported by United Way funds, according to food bank director Nancy Taylor.
She said the food bank started a program donating food to children at six Clovis schools.
“Teachers can send a backpack full with food for children for the weekend,” she said. “United Way funds helped the backpack program.”
Last year’s block party attracted about 60 people, Burch said. This year she counted 115.
“Last year we had a block party, this year we’re having a block party, if it goes well, we might do it again,” she said.
Call 769-2103 or go to www.unitedwayenm.org