Food Distribution Program

The Cherokee Nation Food Distribution Program has been dedicated to distributing nutritious foods to eligible Native American Families residing within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Cherokee Nation and within the USDA Food Nutrition Services approved Service Areas since 1983.  The Cherokee Nation Food Distribution Program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition (USDA) and the Cherokee Nation. USDA-Food and Nutrition Services has developed a well-balanced food package for each participating household member. The amount of food a household receives is determined by the number of eligible household members approved.  Services are provided through seven Food Distribution Stores. The Food Distribution Stores operate in a grocery store environment that allows participants to shop in a comfortable and familiar setting. 

Households are certified based on income eligibility standards set by USDA-FNS.  Households have the right to submit an application the same day they contact the Food Distribution Program. Households must be interviewed in a face to face interview by the designated Food Distribution for eligibility determination. If a household disagrees with any action taken, the household or their representative is entitled to request a Fair Hearing. 

The Food Package consists of approved USDA Foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, canned fruits, canned vegetables, 100% fruit juices, canned and frozen meats, cheese, canned milk, dry milk, shelf stable milk, pastas, cereals, flour, cornmeal, vegetable oil and/or butter are distributed monthly according to household size. Along with these packaged items, households have a choice of different types of fresh produce such as apples and oranges, clementine’s, grapes, lemons, tomatoes, carrots, onions, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, bell peppers, and potatoes, etc. Note some fruits and vegetable may be seasonal and subject to change. 


• At least one household member must prove citizenship in a federally recognized tribe. 

• Household must reside within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Cherokee Nation and within the FNS Service Areas. 

• Household income cannot exceed income eligibility standards developed by USDA-FNS. 

• Households cannot dually participate in the Food Distribution Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) formerly the Food Stamp Program in the same month. 

• Households cannot participate in more than one Food Distribution Program in the same month. 


Proof of Tribal membership:

1.       An official card, letter, or other documentation issued by an Indian Tribe which indicates that the individual is a tribal member.

2.       An official Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood or Certificate of Degree of Alaskan Blood (both abbreviated CDIB) card.

3.       An official document (letter, memorandum, form, etc.) from a Bureau of Indian Affairs office or a Tribe/Nation which states the individual named in the document is the direct descendant (son, daughter, grandchild, etc.) of a federal-recognized member.

Residential Verification:- A current utility bill, phone bill, or rent receipt with applicants name and residential address. Please note a mailing address with a P.O. Box will require a physical address as well as it does not verify your physical address. 

Verification of income:- A full month’s income must be verified for all household members over the age of 18. Copies of pension, government checks, pay stubs, or employer’s statement of GROSS earnings.  Household members 18 years and older with no income must provide unemployment verification. Self-employed individuals must submit their most recent tax forms. 

Verification of Identity:- All household members must provide acceptable verification of identity, such documentation as a driver’s license, work or school I.D., voter registration card, birth certificate, I.D. for health benefits or other programs or other social services. 

General contact: 1-800-865-4462 

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, religious creed, disability, age, political beliefs, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA. 

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits.  Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.  Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992.  Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

(1) mail: U.S. Department of Agriculture

 Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410;

(2) fax: (202) 690-7442; or

(3) email:


This institution is an equal opportunity provider.