FARMINGTON — The San Juan United Way started preparing for this year's fundraising campaign by hosting a Thursday morning breakfast to thank companies that have already begun collecting donations.

Members of the United Way board of directors and the community came together for the "Pacesetter" breakfast event in the parking lot of a new shelter facility for People Assisting the Homeless, or PATH, on Hydroplant Road.

This year's campaign chair, Terri King, said the goal of the breakfast is to bring together "Pacesetter" companies which have started collecting donations and build some excitement towards the start of the United Way campaign.

The campaign will start on Sept. 11 with the Day of Caring, where volunteers work on projects at organizations funded by the United Way.

Josh Carey speaks on Thursday during San Juan United Way Pacesetter Breakfast at People Assisting the Homeless Shelter in Farmington.
Josh Carey speaks on Thursday during San Juan United Way Pacesetter Breakfast at People Assisting the Homeless Shelter in Farmington. (Jon Austria / The Daily Times)

The goal or objective this year is to raise more than the $2.7 million raised during last year's campaign.

Thirty companies have already pledged money to the organization, King said, four more than last year at this time.

King said the need to raise more money is essential because she knows the organization will receive less money from state and federal agencies this year.

"We really want to encourage people to increase our campaign results," King said.

This year's theme is "Together We Can" and guest speaker Josh Carey spoke during the breakfast about how San Juan County agencies helped him get his life back in order so he could be a father to his two young children.

Carey talked about PATH providing help as he adjusted to life with a roof over his head after living on the streets while he was homeless.

Carey, an instrumentation control electrician at the PNM San Juan Generating station, said Echo food bank, the Boys and Girls Club and the transitional housing complex for families called Drexel House were crucial to him changing his life.

"There is a lot of help here in the community," Carey said. "They want to help and they are willing to. It's just amazing how helpful they are."

Joshua Kellogg covers education for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 and jkellogg@daily-times.com. Follow him @jkelloggdt on Twitter.