ARDMORE, OK -- For the next couple months United Way of South Central Oklahoma will be fundraising along with all their agencies, and Monday evening United Way leaders and members of the community to kicked things off with a bang at 4:30 in Mountain View Mall. All 33 of United Way's organizations set up with booths to explain what services they provide. United Way organizers say the money they raise during these months is what keeps their agencies running.
United Way of South Central Oklahoma Campaign Drive Chair Al Schneider says they've already gotten off to a great start. He says the kickoff's just begun, but is happy to announce they've already raised a little over 20 percent of of their goal amount of 800,000 dollars from receiving donations from several local businesses.
"We've got a lot of momentum we're going to use tonight to pile on to that and hopefully to take us all the way through the next couple of months and get us over that 800,000 dollar hundred mark," Schneider said.
United Way organizers say all proceeds will be dispersed among all 33 of their agencies. MAMA Knows. a non-profit parent support group, recently joined the United Way. Executive Director Kayla Walker says United Way's given them the opportunity to branch out to other communities and expand their services. She says with their help they've also been able to open up a free HIV rapid testing center where patients get test results back within about 20 minutes.
"It's a remarkable step stone for us because being in Southern Oklahoma we are the only community based organization that provides HIV Rapid testing in this area," Walker said.
United Way leaders say their agencies provide a service for every community need, and the money they raise is what keeps groups like MAMA Knows going. They say your dollar goes further when you donate to United Way because you're funding several agencies. and maybe even a service that you might need one day.
"Dig deep and you'll be greatly rewarded for it," Schneider said.
United Way staff say they deeply appreciate all the volunteers, those who came out today, and those who donate.
For more information about United Way and local agencies, and to learn how you can donate visit http www.uwsco.org.