DURANT, Okla. (March 22, 2021) – Nan Isht Aiyukpa, which is “Blessings” in Choctaw, is the newest program offered by Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority’s Nutrition Department. To start, this program will be offered to all Choctaw children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches in Atoka, Bryan, Choctaw, Coal, Hughes, and McCurtain counties.
“The goal is to have a program in all the counties the Choctaw Nation serves that will provide meals for the children in need. Some of those programs are in person, but for the more rural areas, Blessings is able to get the food to them,” says Debra Queen, Director of Nutrition Services.
The Blessings program provides a box of shelf-stable meals to all Choctaw children enrolled in school (pre-kindergarten – 12th grade) in a partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Boxes are delivered to participant homes. Children receive 14 shelf stable lunches and snacks with each delivery. Participation in the Blessing Box program does not affect eligibility for any other food assistance program.
Jolee Louis signed up for the program so she does not, “have to worry when times get tough, about being able to feed my kids.” In Hugo, Kathryn Roberts feels a sense of security during this season of virtual learning. “When the kids are virtual learning at home and I still have to work, it is a security knowing she has food that she can heat and eat. She’s a picky eater, but the food is what she likes!”
To enroll your child(ren), fill out the form found at www.choctawnation.com/blessings-box.
The program coordinators will also be on site at the Idabel Community Center on March 24, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. and at the Smithville Community Center on March 24, 2021 at 12:30 p.m. with local authorities and health officials.
Families sign up for the Blessings program in Coalgate. Left to Right: Alicia Murphy and her daughter Nevaeh Parker, Choctaw Nation Health Services representatives Robin Linam, Jordan Booth, Eric Chavarria, and Debra Queen, JoLee Louis with her daughter Candis Louis
Representatives from Coalgate Schools show support for the Blessings program with Councilman James Frazier. Left to Right: Charles Canida, Coalgate Elementary School Principle; James Frazier, Choctaw Nation Councilman; Jack Ward, Coalgate Schools Superintendent; Karen Burris, Secretary to the Superintendent for Coalgate Schools
Families in Hugo sign up for the Blessings program. Pictured left to right: Choctaw Nation representatives Jordan Booth, Eric Chavarria, Debra Queen, and Robin Linam; Kathryn Roberts; Shy’Ann Anna
About The Choctaw Nation
The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest Indian Nation in the United States with more than 200,000 tribal members and 10,000-plus associates. This ancient people has an oral tradition dating back over 13,000 years. The first tribe over the Trail of Tears, its historic reservation boundaries are in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, covering 10,923 square miles. The Choctaw Nation’s vision, “Living out the Chahta Spirit of faith, family and culture,” is evident as it continues to focus on providing opportunities for growth and prosperity. For more information about the Choctaw Nation, its culture, heritage and traditions, please go to www.choctawnation.com.