Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

The Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation

Choctaw Outreach Services to host coat drive at tailgate party

The Choctaw Nation Coat Drive is in full swing and will be accepting donations this Friday at the Annual OU/Texas Tailgate Party. The party will be hosted at the Choctaw Travel Plaza West off hwy. 75 south of Durant, near the Casino and Resort on Oct. 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Guests of the event will not only be able to enjoy the company of former OU standouts Marcus Dupree, Jamelle Holieway and De’Mond Parker, but will be able to help Choctaw youth in need with a donation of gently worn or new coats.

The 2012 coat drive began Oct. 1, and will last until Nov. 30, but “We are always accepting donations for our Solemates, the coat drive and any other needs that may arise throughout the year for the Choctaw youth,” stated Paul Roberts, director of Choctaw Nation Youth Outreach. Solemates is another program led by Youth Outreach, which acquires shoes for Choctaw youth to begin their new school year.

Though coats are the focus of the drive, “if you would like to donate other clothing items we would gladly be willing to accept,” said Roberts. The goal is to get all tribal members ready for the cooler times of the year. Monetary donations will also be accepted and used to purchase new coats.

If you have unused coats in your closet, but are unable to make it to the event, many drop-off locations are made available throughout the Choctaw Nation service area. Donors may bring items to the tribal headquarters in Durant, the Talihina hospital, the Hugo Tribal Service building, the Broken Bow Outreach office or call 580-326-8304 for pickup. Donations can also be mailed to 403 Chahta Circle, Hugo, OK. 74743.

The coat drive began in 2010 when the Choctaw Nation began to notice that not all of its members were dressed to weather the cold temperature of the Oklahoma winter. The Choctaw Youth Outreach coordinates the effort and is supported by all other Outreach Services.

The coat drive assists young tribal members who live within the 10.5 county services area and all funds are 100 percent donated and through fundraisers in which Outreach clients participate.

“We are doing our best to help our Choctaw youth in need. It is very important that our clients have coats for the winter,” stated Roberts.

Donna Tawkowty donates a coat during a past coat drive as Choctaw Outreach employee Joey Tom accepts.