Employees of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation set off in November collecting food stuffs and canned goods for the tribe’s annual Thanksgiving and Christmas food drive. Under the direction of the Employment and Training Department, employees from the tribe’s numerous departments and enterprises competed against one another in gathering the heaviest and most numerous donations.
“These donations are important because sometimes, we all get lost in the shuffle of everyday life and forget that there are people out there who barely have enough to feed their families on a daily basis,” said E&T’s Gina Koch, who has spearheaded this year’s drive. “We need to remember that some people struggle in silence as they are not willing to ask for assistance, whatever that reason may be.”
The food drive supplied 144 households or approximately 660 people for Thanksgiving alone. Each food parcel contained the ingredients for a fully traditional Thanksgiving dinner, turkey included. Those donations weighed in at more than 1.5 tons.
But the giving didn’t stop there. Employees ramped up their donations ahead of the Christmas holiday, providing another 140 baskets of food that will feed around 550 people.
“These donations have affected many people, some of whom have been touched in ways that you have to be there to understand that magnitude of the gift,” said Koch. “One in particular stands out in my mind. When I asked this woman if she wanted a basket we had reserved for her, she gave me the biggest hug while crying tears of joy. I cannot even express how rewarding it is to be a part of that type of experience.”
In a separate drive, FireLake Discount Foods donated a semi-truck full of food for the Christmas holiday. Partnering with the Shawnee, Oklahoma Salvation Army post and the United Way, grocery store employees spent the morning of December 17 unloading food for those in need.