Tribes team up to distribute food at mobile pantry

Kelly Reynolds, with the Eastern Shawnee Tribe, and Wyandotte Nation Elder Services Director Brenda House, pictured right, fill bags with oranges as cars line up waiting for the mobile pantry to begin Wednesday morning, Feb. 26, at the High Winds Casino parking lot in Miami. (William Swaim/Wyandotte Nation)

Kelly Reynolds, with the Eastern Shawnee Tribe, and Wyandotte Nation Elder Services Director Brenda House, pictured right, fill bags with oranges as cars line up waiting for the mobile pantry to begin Wednesday morning, Feb. 26, at the High Winds Casino parking lot in Miami. (William Swaim/Wyandotte Nation)

MIAMI, Okla. — Four tribes in Northeast Oklahoma teamed up to host a mobile pantry last week for those in need.

Wyandotte Nation Elder Services Director Brenda House said this was the first time the tribes had organized this event. House said last month she, along with Crystal Blaylock and Linda Plott of the Ottawa Tribe, Rhonda Weaver of the Quapaw Tribe, and Linda Hill of the Eastern Shawnee Tribe, met with Joanne Burdick from the Food Bank in Tulsa. She said the meeting was to get each tribe’s Title VI programs registered to receive food from the Food Bank.

House said while there the group learned about mobile food distributions and decided to host one centrally located among the tribes. They agreed to host it at High Winds Casino in Miami.

Representatives from each of the tribes were given 31 tickets to distribute to any person in need, regardless of age or race. The recipients had to present their ticket and sign in with one of the volunteers to receive their food.

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Volunteers from the four tribes set up on the bitterly cold Wednesday, Feb. 26, morning to package and distribute food to the 100-plus recipients who lined up in their cars to drive through and receive the bags of food.

“I thought it went pretty well for us to never have done one before. The weather was a bit chilly though,” House said. “I believe that we are going to be able to do one every quarter so, we should be doing it again around May.”

House said as soon as Burdick inspects the tribes’ food sites, then they should also be receiving food for the Title VI programs quarterly as well.

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