BRIGGS -- A community group based in Briggs offers low-cost, homemade meals to Cherokee elders and others three days a week.
The nonprofit Tri-Community W.E.B. Association, which serves Welling, Eldon and Briggs, has been operating out of its community building in partnership with the Cherokee Nation since 2016.
"We've got people coming through now that didn't know we were feeding meals," J.R. Sellers, association president and CN citizen, said. "They found out that they can get a to-go meal, and we're getting tons of compliments on our meals."
The homemade meals are offered for $2 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
"Everybody's welcome," Sellers said. "All you've got to do is get in line. We don't turn anybody down. We've got a good facility to do it."
A majority of the lunch-goers are elders. According to the association's records, of the 1,525 meals served in May, an estimated 1,400 went to senior citizens.
"As humans, we can learn a great deal from our elders, and there's quite a pool of elders here," W.E.B. Association volunteer Dustin Spears said.
Meals are made in the community center's kitchen. Costs are partially offset by funding from the Eastern Oklahoma Development District.
"We fed 160 people turkey and dressing yesterday," Sellers said. "So you're talking six to eight, maybe nine, 10 turkeys. And that's just the turkey part."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as of press time, the W.E.B. Association was offering meals only for pick-up at the center. In addition to its public lunch program, the association offers a mobile pantry and periodically hands out boxed food for families at the center, thanks to the CN and local farmers.
"We've been busy, busy, busy passing out food boxes like crazy," Sellers said June 3 as communities were slowly reopening from the pandemic lockdown. "We passed out 480 boxes just yesterday. It's just been a busy time for us. We felt real good about it because we've been able to give a lot of people food, and Cherokee Nation's been a big help."
The community building is on land donated by Sellers and his wife, Pam.
"We built this from the ground up for the communities," said Sellers, who owns an auction business next door.
All board members, employees and volunteers with the association are Cherokee, he said. The community center's partnership with the tribe is thriving under the latest administration, he added.
"I think they're really trying to help people," he said. "I'm real happy with Cherokee Nation."
The center is at 17914 S. 580 Road. For information, visit its Facebook page or call 918-931-9371.