United Way uses $500,000 OGE Energy donation to bring relief to Oklahomans displaced by ice storm

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Community member Pamela received assistance from United Way after she was impacted by last week’s ice storm. Photo provided by United Way of Central Oklahoma.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A $500,000 contribution from OGE Energy Corp. enabled the United Way of Central Oklahoma to help OG&E customers who lost power during last week’s ice storm.

Community members with critical needs who lost power because of the ice storm, as well as those whose home was made uninhabitable because of storm damage, are staying at local hotels. Money from the $500,000 contribution was used to pay for those rooms, according to a United Way news release.

United Way also used the money to coordinate relief efforts through nonprofit partner agencies, including HeartLine 2-1-1 and Upward Transitions.

HeartLine 2-1-1 has received almost 6,000 calls since Oct. 26 from Oklahomans in need of services, including emergency shelter, housing assistance, food, transportation, debris cleanup and legal assistance, according to the news release.

A total of 167 households, including 313 adults and 278 children, have received hotel accommodations, paid for by OGE Energy Corp., as of Nov. 4, the news release states.

“I don’t know what we would have done without this help,” said Pamela F., who is staying in a hotel with her husband and 90-year-old father. “My father is on a ventilator and we’ve been without power for over a week. Even when the power is restored, we need an electrician to come out because we received so much damage.”

Impacted families sheltered at hotels also received boxes of food from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, according to the news release.

Photo goes with story
A metro family impacted by the ice storm received food from the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Photo provided by United Way of Central Oklahoma.

There are 71,270 OG&E customers without power in Oklahoma as of 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 5. Of those outages, 54,398 are in Oklahoma City.

“I want to thank the United Way of Central Oklahoma, and all of the agencies assisting in the effort to help those affected by this unprecedented storm,” said OGE Energy Corp. Chairman, President and CEO Sean Trauschke. “As we work to restore power across our system, we are pleased to be able to support these remarkable organizations as they provide life-sustaining services to those in need.”

“I have a family of seven and we lost everything in two refrigerators and a freezer full of food,” said Kristy H., a resident of southwest Oklahoma City. “This food will help get us through and we are so thankful for the help being provided.”

Nearly 400 gift cards for groceries and 55 gift cards for gas were given to Oklahomans adversely affected by the storm.

The ice storm also impacted Oklahomans on a psychological level.

“Following every disaster we see long-term mental health impacts,” said Debby Hampton, United Way of Central Oklahoma President and CEO. “Many individuals are already experiencing increased levels of stress and anxiety from the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding the impact of this devastating ice storm will only worsen those conditions.”

IF you were impacted by the ice storm and related power outages and are in need of services, you can request assistance online at bit.ly/OKicestorm or by calling 2-1-1.

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