Tribe, Feed the Children partner for ‘No Hunger Holiday’ event

NEWCASTLE, Okla. - Hundreds of area families received holiday care packages Dec. 10 thanks to the cooperative effort of the Chickasaw Nation, Feed the Children and volunteers.

The packages were distributed to both First American and non-First American families during the drive-thru event at the Chickasaw Nation Northern Regional Training Center in Newcastle.

An estimated 800 families each received a 25-pound box of food products, a 15-pound box of essential hygiene items, toys and children’s books. Boxed meals from the Chickasaw Nation Impa’chi program were provided to children who attended the event.

The McClain County event was one of several “No Hunger Holiday” events conducted nationwide by Feed the Children in November and December.

The “No Hunger Holidays” initiative helps children and families during the holidays, and creates awareness of of childhood hunger.

The Chickasaw Nation event was one of five conducted in Oklahoma.

“Today, we have trucks going to Tulsa, El Reno, Lawton, Oklahoma City and Newcastle,” Feed the Children chief of U.S. operations officer Gary Sloan said.

Demand for assistance has increased this year due to increased food prices and supply chain issues. Last year, Feed the Children dispatched 38 trucks to distribution events. This year the total was 60.

Vital partnerships with organizations including the Chickasaw Nation, Mr. Sloan said, made the food distribution events possible.

This is the fifth year the two organizations have partnered for “No Hunger Holiday.” Previous events took place in Ada, Ardmore, Kingston, Sulphur and Tishomingo.

“Feed the Children has had a great relationship with the Chickasaw Nation over the past five years during these events and other projects,” Mr. Sloan said. “The Chickasaw Nation has always been a great partner, and Feed the Children respects that partnership.”

The food distribution event helps the tribe fulfill its mission to enhance the overall quality of lives of Chickasaw people, Chickasaw Nation Director of Nutrition Services Children’s Programs Melinda Newport said.

“Our collaboration with Feed the Children helps us to expand on our mission by offering Chickasaws and our neighbors these gifts, which we hope will bring an added measure of joy to their holiday season,” Mrs. Newport said. “We are pleased to work with Feed the Children to help serve Oklahoma families.”

Dozens of volunteers worked to unload the semis, greet participants, load packages and direct hundreds of vehicles during the event.

Chelsea Martinez, onboarding experience coordinator at the training center, bundled up on her day off from work to volunteer at the event. She donned a bright orange vest and helped direct traffic. Volunteers cheerfully served guests in the unpredictable Oklahoma weather, which included light rain, bright sun and gusty winds during the three-hour event.

For more information about nutrition programs and services offered by the Chickasaw Nation to its citizens and members of the public, contact Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services at (580) 436-7255.

Feed the Children, one of the nation’s leading anti-hunger organizations, was established in 1979. It is headquartered in Oklahoma City. The organization provides food, education initiatives, essentials and disaster response. Feed the Children currently works in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and in 10 countries around the world.

Visit feedthechildren.org/nohungerholidays to learn more about the “No Hunger Holidays” campaign.