United Way gearing up for campaign kickoff Saturday

The local United Way campaign won't begin in earnest until September, but officials will kick off the drive Saturday, they said.Executive Director Sandy Stewart said the kickoff for the 69th annual campaign will begin at 6 p.m. at the Big Spring Country Club and will feature live music, food and a silent auction.“I just want to say the we are all looking forward to another successful campaign with the strong support of our community,” Stewart said. “I am so proud to be a part of an organization and a community that does so much for so many.”The goal for this year's campaign will be announced during Saturday's event. Last year's goal of $300,000 was exceeded shortly after the formal conclusion of fund-raising, Stewart said.Chairman of this year's campaign is Larry Rodgers, CEO of Scenic Mountain Medical Center. Ann McClarty, an administrator at Big Spring Independent School District, is UW president.Tickets are still available for Saturday's event at $25 per person and can be purchased at the United Way office at 215 W. Third St.The evening will include “heavy” hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar, live music by Freeride and a silent auction.“We have seen tremendous support from the community when it comes to donation items for the silent auction,” Rodgers said earlier this month. “This year, there will be a wide selection of items to bid on, including a Midland Rockhounds baseball package, an autographed University of Texas football, artwork, an assortment of gift baskets … that's just the tip of the iceberg.”Proceeds from the campaign support operations at 17 local agencies: Salvation Army, the SA Boys and Girls Club, Isaiah 58, Dora Roberts Rehabilitation Center, YMCA, Northside Community Center, Ermergency Services Chaplain Corp., Spring of Siloam, Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest, Boy Scouts of America Buffalo Trail Council, the West Texas chapter of the American Red Cross, CASA of West Texas, Council on Aging Mobile Meals, Howard County Humane Society, Rape Crisis/Victim Services of Big Spring, Westside Community Day Care Center and the Permian Basin Regional Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.For more information, contact the UW office at 432-267-5201.