By Betty Williamson
Erinn Burch jokes that people cross the street when they see her coming.
The longtime executive director of the United Way of Eastern New Mexico, Erinn is a relentless champion for the agency, a woman always on a mission.
This Saturday, that mission takes the form of yellow school buses in the parking lots of the Walmart stores in Portales and Clovis, open wide to receive donated school supplies in the United Way’s annual “Stuff the Bus” event.
The drive has been underway in various businesses in both communities over the past few weeks, and culminates from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.
Erinn said last year’s collection gathered “about 4,000 pieces” (everything from pencils and paper to backpacks and binders). This year, “we want to blow that out of the water,” she says, so the goal has been ratcheted up to 10,000 pieces for the combined drive.
“Teachers nationwide spend an average of $500 a year out of their own pockets for school supplies,” Erinn said, and in our community where “70 percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch,” the need is real.
For Erinn it comes down to this: “Our goal is that the kids in the classroom have what they need to learn.”
Count me in, Erinn, and thank you for your endless devotion to eastern New Mexico families.
Betty Williamson loves any excuse to sniff crayons. You may reach her at: