TULSA – Cherokee Nation Entertainment is fighting hunger via a partnership with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma and a contribution of more than $37,000.

According to a CNE press release, the funds are being donated on behalf of casino patrons who visited CNE gaming destinations this spring and chose to donate their cashout vouchers to the cause. 

“Our company, alongside Cherokee Nation, has been a longtime supporter of the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma, and it is a passion we share with many of our guests,” said CNE President Mark Fulton. “Players often have remaining change on their vouchers that they can redeem at one of many kiosks throughout the casino floor, but during the recent coin shortage, we began looking for alternative solutions. In just a short time, the generosity of our patrons generated a significant contribution to a vital community resource, and we couldn’t be more thankful or proud.”

The releases states donation boxes were placed throughout each of the nine Cherokee Casinos, as well as Hard Rock Tulsa, from Feb. 23 to April 15.

“Being a good and responsible community partner is an essential value for Cherokee Nation and all our business endeavors,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Collaborating with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma means some of our most vulnerable citizens – veterans, elders, young children – get regular access to healthy foods. We couldn’t be prouder to develop creative new ways to further the organization’s vital mission in northeast Oklahoma.”

Located in Tulsa, 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, veteran initiatives and after-school programs.

“The food bank is thrilled to benefit from this fun and inventive idea to help our neighbors have more access to food when they need it,” said Lori Long, Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma CEO. “Receiving these funds is just one way we work with Cherokee Nation to provide relief for tribal citizens and all Oklahomans who experience hunger or food insecurity. We are grateful for our partnership, which increases the capacity we have to care for our neighbors.” 

In fiscal year 2020, the food bank distributed more than 32.8 million pounds of food throughout the 24 counties of eastern Oklahoma. For information or ways to engage, visit https://okfoodbank.org.