TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – Officials with the Cherokee Nation say they have received additional supplies to help feed thousands of Cherokee elders.
The Cherokee Nation’s Disaster Household Distribution plan was recently approved by the USDA to allow the tribe to help feed additional Cherokee elders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the help of community organizations around northeast Oklahoma, we have conducted the largest emergency food distribution in Cherokee history as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With these additional resources from the USDA, addressing food insecurity will continue to be a top priority as we provide food to 5,000 more Cherokee elders,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We appreciate the USDA’s help to ensure our most vulnerable citizens can continue to social-distance as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Before the approval, the tribe had already distributed food packages to more than 18,000 Cherokees in need through emergency tribal funds, supplies from casinos, and produce donations.
In all, the tribe’s Human Services Department is on track to serve more than 22,000 individuals in March and April.
“The most important way for our elders to stay safe is to stay home. While many people can make trips to the grocery store when they need to, our elders can’t, and they shouldn’t. We want them to avoid exposure to this virus as much as possible,” said Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner. “With the additional USDA foods, we can ensure more of our elders are taken care of and that they have enough food during these difficult times.”
Over the next 30 days, the Cherokee Nation will distribute the additional food packages to elders who have not previously received a food package during the Cherokee Nation’s COVID-19 response efforts.
Elders who are in need of food supplies can call the Cherokee Elder Food Hotline at 918-316-1670. Callers will need to provide the elder’s name, phone number and address.