TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation is providing $150 in clothing assistance for every qualifying Cherokee child regardless of age, residency or income, with applications accepted now through 5 pm. on July 29.

This marks the first time the program has been available to children under the age of 5 and not enrolled in school.

The Cherokee Nation clothing assistance program was established to assist Cherokee families in purchasing new clothes for children ahead of the upcoming academic year. Cherokee Nation Human Services will accept applications for the school clothing assistance program July 29 at 5 p.m. through the tribe’s online Gadugi Portal at https://gadugiportal.cherokee.org.

“Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and I recognize that inflation has hit Cherokee families hard. That is why we are temporarily expanding our clothing assistance program this year to cover all Cherokee children regardless of age, residency or household income,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “We know the clothing assistance program will help ease the burden of back-to-school costs so many families face each year.”

This year’s clothing assistance program makes the third consecutive year the tribe has provided funds regardless of income or residency.

To qualify, applicants must be a Cherokee citizen under the age of 18 or, if over the age of 18, enrolled in high school. The applicant must have been an enrolled Cherokee Nation citizen as of July 7, 2022.

“Starting a new school year can be stressful for our Cherokee children and their parents or guardians. I know the last thing that Cherokee children should be worried about is whether or not they’ll have a new outfit to wear when school begins,” said Deputy Principal Chief Bryan Warner. “This year I am pleased we can temporarily expand the program to assist all Cherokee children, regardless of age.”

Applications for the assistance program must be complete when submitted on the Gadugi Portal. Processing of applications containing incomplete or incorrect information may be delayed, and applicants may be contacted after the deadline for additional documentation or clarification.

The clothing assistance program utilizes federal funding under the American Recovery Plan Act as part of Cherokee Nation’s COVID-19 Respond, Recover and Rebuild plan. The tribe will budget approximately $13 million for this year’s clothing assistance program.

Since 2020 Cherokee Nation has provided more than $750 million in individual assistance payments under the Respond, Recover and Rebuild plan.

“I’m proud of the Council and the Administration for working together to help the Cherokee people during these challenging times,” said Council Speaker Mike Shambaugh. “Together we have directed hundreds of millions of dollars to programs to help individuals with short term relief and help position Cherokee Nation for long term growth.”

Clothing assistance payments may be made electronically or by paper check after the application has been verified. Details about dates for payment processing will be forthcoming.