Shannon McDaniel, executive director of Tribal Management, and Randy Hammons, executive director of Outreach Services, display the food available from the Thanksgiving food vouchers distributed by the Choctaw Nation to needy Choctaw families. Christmas food vouchers will be distributed next month as well.
Choctaw Nation distributes more than 3,000 food vouchers to needy Choctaws
By LARISSA COPELAND Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Choctaw Nation Outreach Services gave out 3,021 food vouchers this month ensuring no Choctaw family goes without a warm meal for Thanksgiving. The vouchers, which were made available to needy Choctaw families in the 10-½ county service area, included a turkey, two cans each of corn and green beans, a can of yams, cranberry sauce, a box of tea bags, a bag of sugar, dinner rolls and a 10-inch frozen pie.
“Our first year, we handed out about four food baskets,” says Betty Jackson from the Choctaw Nation Outreach Services Program, “and it has evolved to where it is today. We began this program about eight years ago after hearing tribal members say the meal they ate at the Choctaw Nation Thanksgiving dinners would be the only one they had for the holiday.”
To receive a voucher for the food, tribal members completed an application that included income verification. The vouchers were made available for pick-up at their local Choctaw Nation Community Center and could be redeemed at certain local grocery stores. Outreach Services employees went shopping for and made deliveries to those who were homebound and unable to pick up their food.
Those receiving a Thanksgiving voucher are automatically qualified for the Christmas vouchers that will be distributed in early December. It’s not too late to apply for a Christmas voucher, however. The deadline to apply is Dec. 2 and applications can be picked up at the Choctaw Nation complex in Durant or at any Choctaw Nation Community Center.