The Cherokee Nation celebrated the opening of its seventh food distribution center Thursday. A ribbon cutting was held at the new Collinsville Food Distribution Center at 1101 North 12th St. The 5,500-square-foot facility will provide more than 300 American Indian families with healthy USDA foods each month. Prior to the supermarket-style center opening, families drove to a designated area and received foods from the back of a delivery truck.
“Cherokee Nation citizens in the area can now shop comfortably for the nutritious foods their families need,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker. “By working closely with Collinsville community leaders we were able to build this new center, which helps propel our tribe forward. These are the kinds of investments that increase program effectiveness and create a healthier Cherokee Nation.”
The Cherokee Nation started the first-of-its-kind food distribution program in 1984, so eligible Cherokee families would have access to fresh produce, proteins, whole grains and dairy items. The tribe’s Human Services family assistance department now manages seven food distribution centers and five tailgate sites within the Cherokee Nation’s 14-county jurisdiction.
“The opening of the Collinsville Food Distribution Center means more of our Cherokee families now have access to fully stocked shelves and a wider food selection to put on the dinner table when they need it,” said Ella Sands, assistant manager of the program.
In fiscal year 2013, more than 100,000 participants shopped at the Cherokee Nation food centers or tailgate site, which provided more than $6.7 million worth of USDA foods. The Collinsville Food Distribution Center adds five new jobs to the area. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays