Cherokee Nation Food Distribution Manager Leah Duncan and employee David HorseChief restock shelves at the Tahlequah Distribution Center.
Published October 26, 2017
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation Food Distribution Program set a new record after receiving their first USDA Management Evaluation with no findings.
“To be awarded a perfect score is already a big accomplishment for our team, but to be told that we made history, that was a huge credit to the program,” said Jennifer Kirby, interim director of Cherokee Nation Family Assistance. “The USDA Management Evaluation is an extensive process where they examine many aspects of the operational processes. It takes weeks to prepare for a visit of this nature.”
During the process, records for fiscal year 2017 were examined by the USDA, reviewing more than 10 areas of management and daily operations.
“I wanted to view this as a learning experience by identifying what areas we do well in and what areas we may need to improve in,” said Food Distribution Manager Leah Duncan. “To hear USDA announce that we had made history by receiving our first perfect score was absolutely overwhelming.”
In fiscal year 2017, the tribe’s Food Distribution program served 62,173 households, from a total of seven distribution centers throughout the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction, making it one of the largest food distribution programs in Indian Country.
“There are a lot of components to administering food distribution programs in Indian Country, and it’s great to see such a nice running program within the Cherokee Nation,” said USDA Senior Program Specialist Chris Hennelly.
Cherokee Nation Human Services operates the food distribution program to ensure citizens of federally recognized tribes who are income eligible and live within the tribe’s 14-county jurisdiction have access to healthy foods. The tribe maintains seven self-serve food stores that resemble public grocery stores in Tahlequah, Stilwell, Sallisaw, Salina, Jay, Collinsville and Nowata.
For more information on the Cherokee Nation Food Distribution Program, call 800-865-4462.