United Way auctions goods for community

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

Quay County’s United Way Secretary Pat Sparks said their annual auction on Tuesday will even include the proverbial kitchen sink – well, almost.

“We’ll have kitchen faucets, microwaves, dinners, artwork, services, CD players – we run the gamut,” Sparks said of the biggest fund-raiser Quay’s United Way sees all year.

“For every one of those items, it’s a business that’s given us something to auction.”

This year’s United Way auction is slated from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Bank. If one can’t be there in person, Sparks said, it will also be broadcast on KTNM AM 1400.

Sparks said this year’s goal is a hefty $25,000, 15 percent of which was met as of Tuesday night and the rest Sparks said they hope to raise by the final crunch of the auction’s gavel.

A sign by Lowe’s supermarket – donated by Rudy’s Signs and in the form of a thermometer – lets the public see how it’s going.

“The sign is a new thing this year,” Sparks said, “that shows us how much we raised so far. Rudy’s donated everything but the materials. We’re going to make that a permanent thing we use every year.”

Each year also includes generous donations from area individuals and businesses, Sparks said. Although the books are closed for 2005 – with a grand total of 142 items scheduled for sale – Sparks said they will welcome donations from anyone willing when they open it up for 2006.

All the money United Way raises, Sparks said, goes right back into the community.

“Sometimes giving the money is the easy part,” Sparks said of United Way’s role in helping area organizations. “It makes us feel good to give them something that they need. A lot of organizations do good work for the community.”

A total of 10 organizations will be on the receiving end of the funds; they include Ministry of Hope, Quay Council for the Arts and Humanities, St. Vincent de Paul and Tucumcari Home Health Care.

“They’re really important to us,” said Tucumcari Home Health Care scheduling agent Deanna Pacheco of United Way. “If we didn’t have those funds, it would impact us greatly,” she added, explaining monies from United Way go to pay for their Lifeline systems’ personal help buttons, the alert system used by clients if they need assistance right away.

“The Life units themselves go for $900,” Pacheco said, “and the personal help buttons are $99 each. Figure we have 35 to 40 patients and if the battery goes, we really have to replace the whole unit.”

In essence, Pacheco said, United Way serves as a lifeline to their Lifeline program.

“The money all stays here in Quay County,” Sparks said, adding the auction is their major event while the rest of the year United Way spends time soliciting donations from corporations – or writing thank you letters.
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In the money
Recipients of this year’s auction funds

Eastern Plains Community Action Agency
Hartley House
Helping Hands Hospice
Ministry of Hope
The Oasis
Quay Council for the Arts and Humanities
St. Vincent de Paul
Salvation Army
Tucumcari Home Health Care
Tucumcari Public Library

Source: United Way of Quay County