The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

United Way hosting 'Penny Wars' campaign


Last updated 5/11/2019 at 4:31pm

Representatives from various local businesses, organizations and government entities will be squaring off in an effort to avoid receiving a pie to the face, and more importantly, raise money for local children.

The United Way of Eastern New Mexico once again began it’s “Penny Wars” campaign this month to raise money for services to fight child hunger and abuse, as well as generate funds for the United Way’s youth success initiatives.

Executive Director Erinn Burch said past Penny Wars campaigns have each raised over $5,000 for the United Way and she’s hopeful the trend will continue this year.

The way it works is each penny is worth one positive point while bills and other change are worth negative points (-5 for nickels, -10 for dimes, etc.) Come May 23 when the United Way will wrap up the fundraiser with a Red Nose Day event from 5-7 p.m. at The Java Loft, the person from each head to head matchup with the fewest points will receive a pie to the face.

“What’s great about it is when we choose our community members, they have a great sense of humor about it,” Burch said. “They’re very enthusiastic, they know they’re in it to raise money and they use the competition between them and their partner to really fuel some good donations and giving.”

Burch said the funds raised will go towards local entities alleviating child hunger and abuse like The Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico, the Hartley House, and Arise Sexual Assault Services.

Burch said the United Way tries to matchup similar businesses and organizations, with the Clovis and Portales Rotary Clubs, Curry County and city of Clovis, and Roosevelt General Hospital and Interim Healthcare among the groups getting in on the fun this year.

“The two people face off and they are counting against each other, so that means we get to enjoy multiple pies in the face when it’s all over, so that’s the fun part,” Burch said.

Additionally, 13 people from the nursing department at Plains Regional Medical Center are all facing off against each other until May 23, with the person who tallies the fewest points taking part in a dunking booth on May 28 at PRMC, according to Tammy Phillips, isk manager and patient safety compliance officer .

“We had nurses’ week this last week so we did a big push duirng nurses’ week to get our nurses involved in a friendly competition, Phillips said.

Randa Jesko, chief deputy assessor for Curry County, will be facing off against Sarah Williford, adult services coordinator at Clovis-Carver Public Library, in the city/county matchup.

Jesko said this is her first year participating in the Pie-In-The-Face Face off and she’s just looking to raise as much money for local kids as possible.

“I’m the kids ministry director over at Clovis New Life and I have a lot of kids that are in my youth group that are actually affected by childhood poverty and anything I can do for kids is normally what I like to do, so that’s what I’m winning,” Jesko said.

Jesko said her goal is to raise as much money as possible, but winning the penny war would be a nice bonus.

“I’m OCD so the pie thing at the end really kind of gives me some anxiety but it’s for a good cause,” Jesko said.

Based on Williford’s comments to The News on Thursday, Jesko likely does not need to worry about taking that pie to the face as Williford advocated for giving her as many negative points as possible, and thus more money raised for the United Way.

“Give your pennies to Randa, give me the silver. I’m not afraid. I’ll take one pie, I’ll take five pies, bring it on, it’s all for a good cause,” Williford said. “If I can, I don’t want to be allowed in the car. I want to be sent home in a truck bed. I want them to have to hose me down before I’m allowed to walk in the front door.”

Donations can be made at each participant’s business or workplace. You can also add positive or negative points to a participant’s score by visiting


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