United Way about halfway to goal

By Kevin Wilson

With a little more than two weeks to go in its fund-raising campaign, the Roosevelt County United Way is about halfway to its goal.
“We are about at 50 percent in hard fund-raising numbers,” said Erinn Burch, the executive director of the Roosevelt and Curry County branches of the charitable organization. “Our goal is to raise $60,000 and we’re at $29,882.”
What Burch meant by hard numbers were funds for which documentation has been received by a board member — whether it is from donations already received or pledges through paycheck donation. Burch and other board members are assuming, based on talks they’ve had with potential donors, that their money not yet documented will push the amount to about $40,000.
Burch said the money raised so far is mostly the result of great campaigns throughout several Portales-based businesses. However, she knows that the next few weeks will be the hardest, and most important for the county.
“Basically, at this point, we have two weeks to wrap this up. The whole sum of it is that this community needs the support of its members,” Burch said. “Investing through United Way supports 12 organizations that help people in the county.”
Money raised helps the American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, CASA/FCCS, Community Service Center, Girl Scouts, Life Saver Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, the Hartley House-Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence, Meals on Wheels, Ministerial Alliance and the Roosevelt County Literacy Council.
Burch said that during meetings with each organization, the board learned of statistics they considered alarming:
• 75 percent of children at Portales schools qualify for reduced lunches,
• Visitors to the domestic violence shelter doubled from a year before (nearly 500 visitors) and
• 25 percent of the county population is functionally illiterate.
“Those statistics very sharply define that idea that human service is so needed in Roosevelt County and it can’t be ignored,” Burch said. “Everybody in Roosevelt County needs to step up and support their neighbor. We have to take care of our own, basically.”
The board is hoping to get some help as well, and is appealing to local service organizations to help get the word out to businesses board members haven’t been able to visit yet.
Leo Lovett, the treasurer for the board, said that about 100 informational packets have been assembled for various local businesses.
“It’s a tremendous help,” Lovett said regarding volunteers. “As a small six-person board for Roosevelt County, it is hard to get to all of the businesses. As we have community volunteers to help with our campaigns, it just magnifies our presence and helps to bring in the last dollars to meet our goal of helping our agencies.”
To help, volunteers may contact board president Rusty Galloway at 356-4481, ext. 40.