Last year, Lea County United Way met its goal of $850,000. This year the goal is $900,000 and although the funds will be allocated in November, the fund-raising campaign will go on until sometime in December.
Chairman of the campaign, Linda Blain, said, “United Way accepts donations all year long and just because the allocations have been made doesn’t mean that people can’t continue to give.”
Executive director of Lea County United Way, Linda Boes, said that although meeting the monetary goal is important, building and rebuilding relationships with companies in Lea County is also important and that much of the focus of this year’s campaign will on relationship building.
“We’ve got a lot of new companies in Lea County and they may not know how United Way works here and there are some companies that we may have lost touch with over the years,” Boes said. “We want to meet with as many of those new people and get reacquainted with as many of the others as possible before the end of December.”
As usual, volunteers will meet with employee groups at local businesses to explain what United Way does and how each individual contribution contributes to its work.
What employees will hear is that United Way provides partial funding for nonprofit agencies that offer help to what are called “Partners Agencies.” Those agencies include the Weekend Hunger initiative (WHI), Boy Scouts, Faith in Action, Lea County Center for the Arts, Boys and Girls Club, Leaders, CASA, Isaiah’s Soup Kitchen, Opportunity House, Salvation Army, Hearts Desire, Light of Lea County, Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest and American Red Cross.
Funds to those organizations are allocated by a committee of 18 people from Lea County. This year, all 18 will have an opportunity to visit each organization and to hear a presentation from the people representing that organization.
“On Nov. 12 and 13, the entire group of 18 will get on a bus and we will visit every agency we support,” Boes said. “Everyone will see the agency and will hear what the presenter says, so that there will not be any misunderstandings about what was said and what the needs of that agency are.”
This year, a local foundation is matching donations on a ratio of 25 percent. That means that for every dollar donated, the foundation will donate 25 cents. Thus, a donation of $4 becomes a donation of $5 and a donation of $400 becomes a donation of $500.
Direct donations are not the only source of money for United Way.
This Saturday will mark United Way of Lea County’s 27th annual ChiliFest. It kicks off Saturday at 11 a.m. with an abundance of food, drinks and entertainment that will continue until 3 p.m. at the Lea County Event Center. In addition to the food, which organizers say is reasonably priced, there is a car show, games, and raffles and a chance to meet neighbors and friends in a good cause. There is no entry fee, but there is a fee for some of the other attractions, as well as for food and drink.
On Nov. 9, United Way will present a concert by Rodney Atkins at the Lea County Event Center. Tickets for seats on the floor of the Center will cost $26 and seats on the upper level will cost $15. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7 p.m.