By Jessica Bruha
jessica.bruha@ardmoreite.com

United Way of South Central Oklahoma is on the home stretch for their annual fundraiser and are more than $119,000 away from their $850,000 goal.
During a bi-weekly report meeting, there was plenty of good news announced as XTO Energy announced a $10,000 donation and Valero announced another huge donation to help the organization get closer to reaching its goal.
Gino Silvas, Valero supply chain execution manager, announced Tuesday the recently raised nearly $150,000 since the last time they reported two weeks ago, for a total of $432,060.
“If you guys just take a moment and let this soak in, Valero contributes over 50 percent of our campaign,” United Way President Sissy Burge said. “The whole team out there has done an extraordinary job of stepping up to the plate and taking us to the next level.”
The company isn’t done raising money for the organization yet, either. A chili cook-off will take place at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9 at Valero. The company is still looking for teams to sign up to compete.
Valero’s contributions are part of the energy division, as United Way puts agencies, towns and companies into different divisions to help report on funds raised. Divisions include energy, commercial, healthcare, public service and more.

Even just $5 makes a difference though, Burge said.

“That $5 added to $400,000, added to all these little pots of money helps make $850,000,” she said. “Every dollar matters. Whether you can give $1 or you can give $400,000, it takes all of them added together to make it work. So whatever you can do, or whatever you have done, definitely matters.”

United Way of South Central Oklahoma helps provide everything from homelessness services to child abuse services, Burge said, adding the money helps feed the hungry, buy clothes for children, provide shelter for people in violent situations and much more.

“There’s a lot of those agencies that, you know, some of our agencies help people thrive and a lot of them really actually help people survive. They’re life-changing services that they offer,” she said.

“We always stress that at some point in your life, you or your family members are going to be served by one or more of these agencies. So it’s important to have the community’s support.”

The United Way campaign kicked off in September. Last year the organization was able to surpass their goal and rain $916,000. The organizations helps 34 area agencies in Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall and Murray counties.

To ask questions or learn how to donate, call United Way of South Central Oklahoma at (580) 223-1401 or visit their website, www.uwsco.org.