Toby Keith Enjoys Having OK Kids Korral as His Own Charity Project
Toby Keith sings tough-guy songs such as “How Do You Like Me Now?!” and “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” but he also has a soft spot, especially when it comes to children. Inspired by how St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital operates, the country music superstar funded and built the OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City, Okla., to help take care of children battling cancer and their families.
Keith’s guitar player, Scott Webb lost his 2-year-old daughter to cancer, “but her mother came back [from St. Jude] and said how prepared they were, and how St. Jude housed them, [supplied] the food, the Walmart cards, the toiletry supplies,” Keith remembers. “And I said, ‘Well, Oklahoma City doesn’t have any of these things.'”
So, Keith turned his annual golf tournament into a benefit event for the OK Kids Korral. In November of 2013, following 10 years of planning and fundraising, the 16-room facility opened; Keith describes it as “Ritz Carlton meets Disney World.”
“[It has] indoor / outdoor playgrounds, a chapel, huge dining room,” Keith explains. “[Families] don’t pay for anything. They come from out of state, in state — check your kid in with cancer … go across the street right there. Big Dog Daddy’s got you covered.”
Although Keith still receives requests from other charities, he keeps focused on making sure the Korral has everything it needs.
“It’s about $20 million facility, so I’ve got to make sure that everything that I do funnels to that,” Keith explains. “But it’s nice to have something that you’re married to, that’s your calling. Instead of just having your foundation be scattered everywhere — people pulling at you, saying, ‘You’ve got to send this guy money; you’ve got to reciprocate with that guy’ — it’s like, ‘Mine goes over here, to OK Kids Korral.’”
To find out more about the OK Kids Corral, or to make a donation, visit their website. Keith’s 2017 Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic is scheduled to take place on June 2-3 at Belmar Golf Club and Riverwind Casino in Norman, Okla.
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