Floridian inspired to give Cherokee Nation ‘heartfelt donation’
Sarah Gossett, of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, donated money she made from the sale of homemade preserves to the Cherokee Nation. COURTESY
Shown are homemade preserves sold by Sarah Gossett, of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, who donated the funds to the Cherokee Nation. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – Like many whose lives were upended by the pandemic, Sarah Gossett was inspired to use her newfound free time raising funds for “someone who needed it more than me.”
“I don’t know what the Cherokee Nation needs during this time, but I figured that my donation could go to benefit the community in some way,” she said. “There’s a lot of people who are struggling right now who could use extra help, but for me, I think it’s paramount to support our Native communities as best as I can. And try and learn more along the way.”
Gossett, of Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, was herself gifted 15 pounds of kumquats in mid-March, sparking a desire to spread the generosity.
“I figured I could do something productive for the community with this gift,” Gossett said. “So I decided to make a variety of preserves with this and other produce I had, sell them, and use the money I raised to benefit someone who needed it more than me during the pandemic. Honestly, it was a pleasant distraction to put my energy towards making something that could help someone.”
Her effort ultimately raised $150, which she in turn passed on to the CN.
“I think this donation is a great example of people’s humanity shining through during this public health crisis,” CN Treasurer Tralynna Scott said. “It was a very thoughtful and heartfelt donation, and I appreciate these donations just as much – if not more than – the large blocks of federal funding CN receives.”
During the past two months, the CN has seen a spike in financial donations earmarked for COVID-19 response efforts, Scott said.
“We’ve also had several people contact our office to donate supplies,” she said, “and we’ve had an abundance of people donating their time as well – especially within our Food Distribution program. Having had the privilege to witness everyone coming together like they have since the onset of this crisis, it is easy to understand how the Cherokee Nation has overcome adversity time and again.”
Every donation large or small can make a difference, Scott said.
“It’s been truly inspiring to see so many people give back in whatever manner they can, whether it be through a donation, volunteering or just working long hours without complaint like so many of the essential employees have been doing,” she said.
While she is not of Native American descent, Gossett, a restaurant chef, said she was compelled to give in some way when her plans to immigrate to Australia were placed on hold by the coronavirus.
“Growing up in Chattanooga (Tennessee), I was taught some basic Cherokee history in school, but no one ever taught us about Native history that didn’t involve Europeans, or why there weren’t Native American communities in our area,” she said. “So I’ve tried to take these lessons and spend more time learning about the land that I live on and the people who lived there before colonialism. In May I was beginning to see a lot of news regarding the disproportionate effect that the coronavirus was having on Native Americans, who already are underserved and underrepresented. And I just think it’s the least I can do to help.”