Cherokee Tribal Food Distribution Program


Program Information


Reducing Hunger in our Community

The Tribal Food Distribution Program is dedicated to distributing nutritious foods to any eligible household that meets the following requirements:


Is within the Qualla Indian boundary.


OR includes at least one enrolled member of any federally recognized tribe AND is in Cherokee, Graham, Swain, Jackson, or Haywood county.


And falls within USDA regulations and income limits.


What We Offer

We provide fast access to high quality foods.

To sign up, call, email, or come in to set up an appointment.

Come to your appointment with the required documents.

We do our best to provide your first month’s supply of food right after receiving and approving your application. If you are unable to receive food at that time, arrangements can be made for next day pick up or delivery.

We have over one hundred items to choose from. On food pick up day, you choose which items from each of the foods group you would like to receive. USDA has developed a well-balanced food package for each participating household member. Dry goods, canned fruits, vegetables, meats and a choice of different types of fresh produce and frozen meats are available in the food package. The food packages are based on the size of the family and are to supplement the families’ food needs for the month.

Tribal Foods Distribution Program allows participants to select food items to help meet their nutritional needs.

Cherokee Tribal Foods Distribution Program is made possible through grants from the EBCI in partnership with the USDA.


Do I Qualify?

In-person interviews are required for all applicants. Please download the EBCI Tribal Food Distribution Application to learn what information is required and what to bring with you when you come in for your interview. EBCI per capita is NOT counted towards income, nor are loans, stimulus, and Pell grants. College students may apply if they are responsible for their own food/living expenses.

If living on Tribal Lands, anyone is eligible to apply.

If living in the 5 county service area, must have at least 1 enrolled member of any federally recognized tribe in the household.

Can not participate in SNAP (food stamps).

1. $1,231
2. $1,604
3. $1,977
4. $2,365
5. $2,769
6. $3,173
7. $3,547
8. $3,920

Each additional member $374

Guidelines in effect Oct. 1, 2020

Paid weekly – gross amount of check x 4.3 = gross monthly income (before 20% deduction)

Paid bi-weekly – gross amount of check x 2.15 = gross monthly income (before 20% deduction)

20% – 0.20 x gross income

Utility deduction – $350.00

Medical deductions – medical costs > $35.00

Child support – paid

Dependent care expenses

Zero income (little chance of change) – every 3 months

Zero income (frequent changes in income) – every 2 months

Stable (non-changing income) – 12 months

Elderly/disabled (fixed income) – up to 24 months. Must be contacted every 12 months to make sure they wan to continue services.

Self-employed – Recertification should fall when they receive the majority of their income.

Proof of income or lack of income, residency, mailing, and ID.

Download the application form and email your completed form to amelowle@nc-cherokee.com

Call to schedule an appointment.

General Questions

Schedule an Appointment

Application / Recertification Questions


Where and When is Food Distributed?

Your next food pick up occurs 30 days after your last pick up. Rearrangements can be made to pick up a few days later if you will not be available on your next scheduled food distribution day.

If you are unable to come for pick up, we deliver within Qualla boundary and nearby. Call 828-359-9756 or email to enquire about making arrangements for us to come to you. For Cherokee, Graham, and Haywood County residents, we offer food distribution once a month at regular locations. Please refer to our distribution calendar posted on Facebook and Instagram.

1st Tuesdays

Graham County

Church of the Lamb

5052 Snowbird Rd
Robbinsville, NC

1st Thursdays

Cherokee County

John Welch Seniors Center

302 Airport Rd
Marble, NC

1st Fridays

Haywood County

NC National Guard Armory

1824 Jones Cove Rd
Clyde, NC


Manna Food Bank

Tribal Foods has partnered with Manna Food Bank to deliver thousands of meals to Cherokee, NC.

Anyone may come on Manna Food days to receive a nutritious share of food.


Help During the Pandemic

Tribal Food Distribution Program has been approved by the USDA FNS to distribute disaster food benefits to any household that may be suffering significant economic losses due to layoffs, furloughs, or significant food access challenges due to COVID-19.


Program Partners

This program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.) USDA Non-Discrimination Statement.

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online or at any USDA office, or call (866) 632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at program.intake@usda.gov.

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).