Cherokee Nation Businesses, food bank partnership aims to end hunger

BY STAFF REPORTS
02/24/2020 11:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation Businesses employee volunteers Marci Gillespi and Cohle Fowler help sort, package and weigh fresh foods at the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma’s Donald W. Reynolds Distribution Center in Tulsa. COURTESY
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma delivers food to the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center in Tahlequah. Cherokee Nation Businesses’ Community Impact Team, a companywide initiative dedicated to helping promote volunteerism and community engagement, supports the food bank through volunteer efforts and donations throughout the year. COURTESY
CATOOSA – Cherokee Nation Businesses and its team of employee volunteers continue to ramp up support for local citizens and charitable organizations. The tribally owned company is partnering again with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. 

CNB’s Community Impact Team, a companywide initiative dedicated to helping promote volunteerism and community engagement, supports the food bank through volunteer efforts and donations throughout the year.

“Cherokee Nation Businesses began its partnership with the food bank during the 2017 Day of Caring,” Teressia Kehr, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma volunteer manager, said. “Shortly after, the connection deepened with monthly visits, their generous presenting sponsorship of the Feeding Oklahoma Drive in October, and ongoing support of Empty Bowls. Their employees have contributed over 1,224 volunteer hours through a wide variety of tasks.”

The collaboration to help end hunger in Oklahoma isn’t new. The Cherokee Nation’s business arm and the food bank have remained partners for the Tulsa Area United Way’s Annual Day of Caring for three years and counting. In 2019, CNB, which was honored as the nonprofit’s company of the year, sponsored fundraising events supporting the food bank, and groups of CNB employees volunteered monthly at the 78,000-square-foot Donald W. Reynolds Distribution Center in north Tulsa.

“Their work has helped provide the equivalent of 49,019 meals for people in eastern Oklahoma and saved the food bank $31,126.32 in expenses,” Kehr said. “We can’t thank the organization and individual employees enough for their tireless work on behalf of the hungry.”

The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma distributes food and other grocery items to 350 partner agencies in eastern Oklahoma, including food pantries, emergency shelters, soup kitchens, senior citizen centers and after-school programs. In 2019, the food bank distributed more than 28.9 million pounds of food throughout 24 counties in Oklahoma, including the CN Veterans Center in Tahlequah and several tribally partnered mobile pantries.

CNB employees dedicate thousands of volunteer service hours annually to community outreach projects and charitable efforts, including the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, Iron Gate, the CN Angel Project, Junior Achievement of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Heritage Center.

Throughout the year, volunteers also support tribal, community, veteran and senior citizen events, as well as coordinate essential item and school supply drives, blood donation events and annual fundraising campaigns across northeast Oklahoma.

For information or to help the food bank, visit https://okfoodbank.org/get-involved.

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