Cherokee Nation Food Distribution Program Expands into Muskogee

Seal of the Cherokee Nation Cherokee Nation News Release
(918) 456-0671, Ext. 2210 FAX (918)458-5580
Cherokee Nation Director of Communications@cherokee.org
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January 28, 2003

Cherokee Nation Food Distribution Program Expands into Muskogee

MUSKOGEE- The Cherokee Nation recently received approval to expand the Food Distribution services into Muskogee. Beginning February 20, the Cherokee Nation Food Distribution program will serve Indians residing in the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation within the Muskogee city limits with a tailgate site located at 1805 N. York Street.

The Cherokee Nation Food Distribution program applied for a waiver of regulations from the United States Department of Agriculture that prohibited the Cherokee Nation from serving urban areas with more than 10,000 residents. After more than a year of negotiations, the USDA approved service expansion for Muskogee.

"The main reason Cherokee Nation went to all the effort of applying for the waiver and negotiating with the federal government was because we felt there was a large number of Indians, not just Cherokees, residing in Muskogee who could benefit from the program," said Bud Squirrel, manager of the Cherokee Nation Food Distribution program.

"Over the last three and a half years, we have tried to make our services more available to the Cherokee people," said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation. "We realize that not everyone can come to Tahlequah."

To be eligible to participate, one member of the household must have a tribal membership card or a Certified Degree of Indian Blood card from a federally recognized tribe and meet income guidelines. The current monthly income limit cannot exceed $873 for the first person and $257 for each additional household member. To qualify, clients must bring copies of pension, government checks, pay stubs, or employer's statement of gross earnings. Household members 18 years and older with no income must provide unemployment verification signed by two adults that are not related to the 18 year old. Self-employed, clients need to bring current tax papers. Household members must also provide verification of identity, which includes Social Security cards, birth certificates, or driver's license, and verification of residency via a utility bill or phone bill.

The Cherokee Nation will set up a tailgate food distribution site on Thursday, February 20 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm in the parking lot of the Cherokee Nation Muskogee Clinic located at 1805 N. York Street. Cherokee Nation representatives will certify clients for the Food Distribution program the same day. Clients may travel to the Cherokee Nation Food Distribution site in Tahlequah and begin certification as early as February 3. The Tahlequah center is located at the Tribal Complex and is opened Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm, except for the last three days of the month. To avoid long delays, we suggest that you travel to Tahlequah after the 10th day of the month.

The Cherokee Nation Food Distribution program serves more than 130,000 clients a year. Clients who participate in the Cherokee Nation program are not eligible for food stamps. For more information, please call (918) 456-0671, extension 2920 or 2921.