United Way discusses Toby Keith concert money, donations

United Way discusses Toby Keith concert money, donations

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Tens of thousands of Oklahomans opened up their hearts and their wallets at the Toby Keith benefit concert Independence Day weekend.

More than 60,000 tickets sold at $25 a piece, solidifying the concert as a major money-maker for the chosen charity: the United Way of Central Oklahoma.

"It goes beyond words to express how much it means to us, because we know how those dollars are going to be used," said United Way of Central Oklahoma President and CEO Debby Hampton.

The organization divvies up their funds between 60 partner organizations. Money from the concert will filter to groups like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Goodwill, Catholic charities and groups like Moore Youth and Family.

"They're non-profits that are strong, that have been through...gosh all kinds of processes where we have looked at their accountability," Hampton said.

Even before the concert, Moore had begun rising from the debris.

"We've already started rebuilding in some of the areas, we've got about 100 permits issued and that's pretty exciting to us," said Moore Mayor Glenn Lewis.

Now, millions more should be added to the available pot, though the United Way doesn't have a final dollar count yet. They still have to wait to hear t-shirt, concession and text message donation totals. That's in addition to donations coming through their website.

The Blake Shelton benefit already raised more than $6 million.

In total, before the Toby Keith concert, donors had pledged the United Way around $12 million for tornado relief.

They have allocated $1.1 million of that so far for initial food, clothing and transportation for victims.

Now, they're looking ahead.

"The mental health and the physical health issues we really anticipate that going for years," Hampton said. Especially because there were so many children involved, and many victims have been through devastating tornadoes before.

"They actually know the drill too," said Mayor Lewis about the people of Moore, "as much as any of us at City Hall, so I'm quite proud of them."

By the end of the week the United Way hopes to have a new page on their website up and running. It will show a total for donations taken in and distributed for tornado relief in Oklahoma.

You can donate on the site, or text "REBUILD" to 52000 to make a $10 Donation.

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