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News > Press Releases > Press Release

Press Release

Release Date: June 08, 2020

by Chickasaw Nation Media Relations Office

  • Purcell residents Sandra and Mike Roberts came to the Farmers to Families Food Distribution event that took place in Purcell, Oklahoma. They expressed admiration for all involved in the event.

  • Driving from Oklahoma City to Purcell to take part in the Farmers to Families Food Distribution event, Seby and 5-year-old Enrique Ramirez are thankful for food events like these during this difficult economic time.

  • Dozens of Chickasaw Nation volunteers took part in the logistics of the Farmers to Families Food Distribution event in Purcell, with some traveling from as far away as Tishomingo and Ardmore.

The Chickasaw Nation is collaborating with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma for Farmers to Families drive-thru food distribution events. Through this initiative, food boxes will be distributed to Chickasaw citizens and those within surrounding communities at no charge.

The next event is June 11, at Marietta High School, 800 S. 4th Ave., from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or while supplies last. More than 400 families are expected to receive food packages at this event.

The most recent food distribution event took place May 28, in the parking lot of the Purcell High School. In total, 1,200 boxes of food serving 600 families were distributed, along with 500 kids’ meals provided to children through the Chickasaw Nation Summer Food Program. Dozens of Chickasaw Nation employee volunteers were on location to help with food distribution.

Purcell resident Sandra Roberts said that this program is meeting a need.

“It means everything to have this available to the community,” Roberts said. “My husband and I are on a fixed income. It can be hard to get by, to make ends meet. We are glad friends told us to come out today to get this food.”

At the food distribution event in Purcell, families received a 25-pound box of fresh produce containing items such as apples, oranges, carrots, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and dried beans. Families also received a 10-pound box of protein containing frozen chicken. Depending on inventory of food boxes, regional distributors and local availability, the food box contents may vary from location to location.

After seeing the event on the Chickasaw Nation’s Facebook page, Seby Ramirez and Enrique, 5, traveled from Oklahoma City to attend the food distribution event.

“My aunt told me to look at the Chickasaw Nation’s Facebook page for details,” Ramirez said. “I had asked her to help me out with some food a couple of days ago. I had barely anything in the house for us to eat. This is really helping.”

Additional Farmers to Families Food Distribution events are planned in the next few weeks. The dates and locations will be posted on the Chickasaw Nation Facebook page.

About the Farmers to Food Distribution Program

As part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program, it was announced April 17 that USDA would be exercising authority under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to purchase and distribute agricultural products to those in need.

Through this program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) partnered with national, regional and local suppliers, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products to be distributed to those in need.

According to nutrition services deputy director Joy Standridge of the Chickasaw Nation, the program helps producers, food distributors and families in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This project is designed to help provide relief to the food supply chain devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Standridge said. “This initiative provides relief to farmers and distributors who lost demand for their food products. It provides relief to food banks and other nonprofits by making sure the products are made available already packed in boxes, which reduces the number of volunteers needed to work at each event.”

The federal program will purchase $461 million in fresh fruits and vegetables, $317 million in a variety of dairy products, $258 million in meat products and $175 million in a combination box of fresh produce, dairy or meat products nationally.

Suppliers will package these products totaling $1.2 billion into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits serving Americans in need from May 15 through June 30, 2020.

For more information, contact Chickasaw Nation Nutrition Services, (580) 436-7255.