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United Way changes their name, not their mission

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Lawton, Okla._The United Way of Lawton-Fort Sill has a new name for a new year. The organization will now be called the United Way of Southwest Oklahoma. The new name will become official Wednesday. Their service will expand to nine counties making them able to help more people in more communities across Oklahoma. United Way's expansion means more services can be provided to more people. Several of the counties that are now covered in the expansion did not previously have a United Way at all. The Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Lawton Food Bank are just a few of United Way's partners that provide services throughout southwest Oklahoma.

Executive Director of United Way of Southwest Oklahoma, Katie Noffsker said this expansion will better help United Way help those partners now that they can extend farther.

"We were providing services but we weren't really able to go in and drive support for what we do and the partners we work with in all of these communities and now we can," said Noffsker.

Some cities in our area, such as Altus, didn't even have a United Way to serve their community and smaller ones around it, while counties such as Stephens County have their own.

"The significance of having a United Way in your community is that, we are one of those groups that can pull partners together to the table and drive community level change," said Noffsker.

Noffsker said the nine counties in their extended area are some of the most poverty-stricken counties in the state. She said the United Way is able to get support in the missions of several of their partners and they want to be able to share that with the rest of Southwest Oklahoma.

"Those agencies that are already active in providing services can see a bigger return from the community and be able to expand their services and even focus on programs that prevent the need for their services in the first place," said Noffsker.

The United Way of Southwest Oklahoma currently funds nineteen local agencies and Noffsker said the now they will be able to call non-profits in the new area and find out what help they need to better help their community.

If you are in this new coverage area, the United Way wants you to call to let them know what your needs are and to talk to them about becoming a partner.

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