Chamber auction

Ira Smith auctions off a number of items for the United Fund on Monday during the Woodward Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon. (Photo by Johnny McMahan)

Monday marked the annual kickoff of the United Fund of Woodward at the monthly Woodward Chamber Luncheon.

Hosted at the Woodward Conference Center, the luncheon featured speakers from the Oklahoma Blood Institute before Chamber President CJ Montgomery, with the help of Auctioneer Ira Smith, auctioned off several donated gift baskets to begin fundraising efforts to benefit the United Fund.

The United Fund was founded in 1957 and has continued to help organizations in Northwest Oklahoma. The nonprofit’s mission is, “Uniting People & Resources for a Better Northwest Oklahoma.”

The Fund offers financial support to agencies that provide health and safety education, senior assistance, youth development, legal aid, food, shelter, clothing, and other charitable services to Woodward and the surrounding area.

The Fund benefits the following agencies:

Cimarron Council, Boy Scouts of America

Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma

Kids Inc.

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma

Northwest Oklahoma Chapter, American Red Cross

Northwest Oklahoma Literacy Council

Salvation Army

Woodward Senior Citizen Center

High Plains Outreach Center

Pregnancy Center

Woodward Arts & Theatre Council

Senior Nutrition Program

There are a number of fundraising events coming up for the United Fund:

Thursday, Oct. 3 - Trivia Night at Longshots Bar & Grill from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 10 - Chili & Chicken Noodle Dinner at Kid’s Inc. from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Oct. 22 - Senior Center Dinner & Bake Sale from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The United Fund drive goal this year is $134,500.

The Vice President of the Western Division of OBI Daren Coats and Executive Director Jessy Dershem spoke briefly about OBI and its many programs.

“Every two seconds somewhere in the United States someone needs a blood transfusion,” Coats said. “What happens if that stops? Lives are charged considerably because of the work we do every day. We couldn’t do what we do without you, so I want to start by saying thank you. We get a tremendous outpouring of support from the people in this community.”

Coats went on to offer a number of statistics to show the impact OBI has in Oklahoma and the nation.

According to Dershem, donating blood is only one of many ways to participate in saving lives. The OBI has several programs such as Be the Match, a program that matches up bone marrow donors with those in need.

For more information on the programs, visit

Visit the United Fund of Woodward Facebook page to learn about upcoming events and how to donate.

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