About 110,000 veterans live in the Food Bank’s service area, and a significant portion remain food insecure as a result of disability, trauma, and a variety of other factors. In the summer of 2015, the Food Bank increased outreach to this segment of our community that remains under-reported in hunger awareness surveys.
On May 3, Cherokee Nation and the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma signed an agreement to establish quarterly Mobile Pantries to benefit food insecure tribal veterans and their families. May 29 was the launch of the first Mobile Pantry at the Cherokee Nation Veterans Center.
S. Joe Crittenden is Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief. “I’m a veteran myself. We just had Memorial Day remembering those who gave their lives serving their country. Others didn’t die, but they served nonetheless, and their families also served. Sometimes those people just need a little help getting through the month till the next check comes.”
We were pleased to hold this Mobile Pantry so close to Memorial Day,” Eileen Bradshaw, Executive Director for the Food Bank said. “It is an honor to take the next step beyond a salute to the men and women who selflessly served our country, and to provide needed assistance and nutrition.”
A Mobile Pantry is a farmers’ market-style of food distribution in rural communities. For this Mobile Pantry, the Food Bank brought in ten pallets of fresh produce, bakery products, and shelf-stable food items. Tickets were allocated by the Nation and their volunteers set up the distribution.
Jim Lyall, the Food Bank’s Veterans Outreach Coordinator notes, “Food Bank Mobile Pantries become community events. Each one, including the Cherokee Nation, utilizes strong local support to distribute the Food Bank’s products in a dignified manner.”