CN, food bank partner to assist veterans
Principal Chief Bill John Baker on May 3 signs a partnership with Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to assist more veterans through the Cherokee Nation’s Veterans Center. From top left to right are CN attorney Bryan Shade, Veterans Center employees Norman Littledave and Kimberly Lack, CN Director of Veteran Affairs Barbara Foreman, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Cherokee veteran Allan Johnson. Bottom left to right are CFBEO Veterans Coordinator Jim Lyall, CFBEO Executive Director Eileen Bradshaw, Baker and Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden. ROGER GRAHAM/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Cherokee Nation leaders on May 3 signed an agreement with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma to create a mobile food bank at the tribe’s Veterans Center for qualified veterans, their families and their widows on a quarterly basis.
“We had a wonderful signing ceremony with (Principal) Chief (Bill John) Baker, signifying our partnership,” CFBEO Executive Director Eileen Bradshaw said. “The program focuses on veterans and their food security.”
The CFBEO is a member of the national Feeding America network and delivers food to clients in eastern Oklahoma’s 24 counties through its network of 465 partner programs.
However, the partnership didn’t get into full swing until May 29 when Veterans Center staff, CN administrators and employees, as well as federal officials, bagged and distributed approximately 10,000 pounds of food to qualified veterans.
Cherokee veteran Allan Johnson said he’s grateful for the assistance. “I have to live within a limited budget from disability and, this program is going to help my quality of life.”
Veterans Center Executive Director Barbara Foreman said she was pleased with the program’s first food distribution.
“The event was a wonderful success, which assisted 117 veteran families who received tickets. With the extra food after the event, we assisted about eight more veterans who heard about the program but were unaware of the process,” she said. “The feedback was good, and we know the veterans appreciated our efforts very much. We will continue with our efforts to assist our veterans with this food outreach program every 90 days.”
The next mobile food pantry is scheduled for August. Foreman said the Veterans Center compares schedules with the food bank and that it would try to schedule distributions every 90 days. She said the center would contact veterans and widows of veterans regarding the next distribution.
Foreman also said the center doesn’t receive a list of food items and that she doesn’t know what food they will be distributing until they take it off the truck.
“The food is based on the donations received at the food bank warehouse,” she said.
She added that the Veterans Center receives 125 tickets for veterans and widows on a first-come, first-serve basis. Foreman said if a veteran or widow has five or more people in the household, they receive two tickets.
For more information on the Veterans Center and mobile food bank, call 918-772-4166. For more information about the CFBEO, visit okfoodbank.org
or call 918-585-2800.