The OU Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has partnered with the Kiowa Tribe’s 7th legislative district for a food box giveaway that will take place Saturday and is open to all community members.
The giveaway is a drive-thru from noon to 4 p.m. — or until supplies last — at the Lloyd Noble Center, and there are no tribal or income requirements, said District 7 Office Manager Suzanne Wise. Each family can receive two 30 lb. boxes, and there is a limit of two families per car, Wise said.
Partnering with the nonprofit Go Fresh, there will be 1,200 food boxes to give out, Wise said. The boxes contain fresh protein, vegetables, fruit and dairy, according to the event’s flyer.
Jacob Tsotigh, the newly-elected legislator for District 7, said this giveaway has only been in the works for a few weeks after the tribe did a similar giveaway in Carnegie, OK on Sept. 19 and again on Oct. 10.
“We do know that the country is undergoing extreme economic distress because of the pandemic,” Tsotigh said. “We just thought that this would be a good opportunity to provide some relief.”
No stranger to the economic effects of the pandemic, Tsotigh said he only decided to run for the legislative opening after being furloughed from his OU position as program administrator for the National Indian Education Association.
While the tribe’s programs are usually targeted specifically for tribal members, Wise said because of the pandemic’s overarching effects on all community members, this giveaway is open to anyone who needs it.
“We're part of the community, (and) we want to give to all of the community,” Wise said. “No matter what skin color you are, what race you are, we are all having a challenging time. I think it's really wonderful for us to give to the entire community and show a reflection of the generosity of Native Indigenous people.”
To adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions, Wise also said drivers will be asked to open their trunks for volunteers to place food boxes and to keep any interaction minimal.
There are about 25 volunteers committed to helping with the giveaway, Wise said, most in shifts of 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. for set-up, and 12 to 4 p.m. for distribution.
Volunteers will include members of OU’s Native American sorority Gamma Delta Pi, Wise said.