CN doles out thousands of gift cards for coats
Shown is an example of a School Clothing Assistance Program card given to eligible children in grades kindergarten through 12th. The summer program offers $100 for school clothes, while the winter program offers $50 for coats. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – More than 3,700 children received winter coats in 2019 thanks to a Cherokee Nation clothing assistance program offered by Human Services.
Angela King, who works in Human Services’ Family Assistance office, said 3,754 children were able to purchase coats in late 2019 through the effort, which is an extension of the 14-year-old School Clothing Assistance Program.
“It began as an extension from the clothing program to give Cherokee Nation tribal school-aged children a warm coat for the winter,” King said. “When the clothing program began, it was a true voucher program in 2006. Then a few years later we had Stage for several years as our vendor and gave gift cards that were unique to our program, but last year we began using Convenient Visa Cards. This allows the children to shop wherever they want to.”
Eligible students who receive the $50 prepaid cards must be Cherokee Nation citizens, live within the CN jurisdiction, be enrolled students in grades kindergarten through 12th, and parents or guardians must provide utility bills as proof of residence and verifications of income. Applicants must meet income guidelines to qualify.
Students who received $100 summer gift cards are automatically eligible for winter gift cards. During 2017 and 2018, the number of children who received coat assistance was 4,829 and 3,298 respectively.
For the School Clothing Assistance Program, parents are encouraged to visit cherokee.org
in the spring for updated information on when to apply, locations and deadlines.
During the winter months, HealthyChildren.org
suggests dressing children appropriately in several thin layers to keep them dry and warm.
“The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions,” the site states. “Hypothermia develops when a child’s temperature falls below normal due to exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when a child is playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults.”
For information, call 918-453-5422 or visit https://www.cherokee.org/all-services/human-services/family-assistance/school-clothing-assistance-program/