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HomeCommunityOsage Nation employees deliver donated Christmas toys and grocery baskets to families

Osage Nation employees deliver donated Christmas toys and grocery baskets to families

The ON Financial Assistance Department hosted its annual Tree of Gifts initiative and asked the public for donations and delivered the gifts and food baskets to families on Dec. 21, 2022.

Ahead of the holiday weekend, Osage Nation employees collected donated Christmas toys and food baskets for distribution throughout the area for families and children in need.

The Nation’s Financial Assistance Department hosted its annual Tree of Gifts initiative and asked the public for donations and delivered the gifts and food baskets to families on Dec. 21. In early December, the Financial Assistance Department announced the 2022 Tree of Gifts, which included ornaments on the department’s office Christmas tree containing area children’s wishes that were on the tree until sponsors filled the donation requests.

Andrea Kemble, Financial Assistance Department director, said 103 families with children received gifts ranging from toys, clothing items to bikes. In addition, some families received food baskets containing groceries for cooking a family meal.

That afternoon, department employees loaded up vehicles with the toys and food baskets and split up for deliveries. Employees delivered to families in Hominy, Fairfax, Pawhuska, Skiatook, Bartlesville, Burbank and Shidler, Kemble said.

“The Christmas gifts came from our (tree) and so families, parents and grandparents were able to sign their minor child up and each child is able to fill out a wish list with some information about their hobbies, their likes, their age, their clothing sizes, and we put them on the tree and then advertise to the community and our workforce – and to include Osage Casinos,” Kemble said.

“Private sponsors can come in and pick up a child’s ornament and then go shop for them and in most cases, our sponsors were able to get what is actually on the wish list, so that was really good. The Osage Casinos at all seven locations also had a toy drive, they partner with us every year and they delivered approximately 280 toys last Friday and they’re various toys for both male and female kids of different ages and that gets included with ones on the wish list,” Kemble said.

The food baskets were distributed to financial assistance clients, which include large families with children, Kemble said.

In addition to local sponsors, Kemble noted ON elected officials and employees came in to donate and added Osages living in Texas also donate to the initiative by either donating money or ordering gift items online which are then shipped to the department office in Pawhuska before the delivery date.

In Pawhuska, Keith Krohn was among those receiving a grocery basket that day. “I feel very blessed and grateful and everyone have a Merry Christmas!” he said.

For more information on ON Financial Assistance Department services, visit the ON Financial Assistance Department located on the first floor in the Welcome Center at 239 West 12th St. in Pawhuska or call (918) 287-5325. The ONFA services are also on the Nation’s website at: www.osagenation-nsn.gov/what-we-do/financial-assistance

To watch the Osage News video of the distribution, visit https://youtu.be/qny6_PKGF-A

Author

  • Benny Polacca

    Title: Senior Reporter

    Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

    Instagram: @bpolacca

    Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

    Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

    Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

    Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

    Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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Benny Polacca
Benny Polaccahttps://osagenews.org

Title: Senior Reporter

Email: bpolacca@osagenation-nsn.gov

Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.

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