United Houma Nation receives donations from Procter and Gamble and Bayou Community Foundation Outreach

United Houma Nation’s Principal Chief, August “Cocoa” Creppel, lifting supplies to send off into the community.

Houma, LA-  The United Houma Nation has been preparing and delivering essential food supplies to tribal elders since April to eliminate the risk of them catching the Coronavirus. Today, the United Houma Nation received a tractor-trailer of cleaning and household items donated from Procter and Gamble and with assistance from Bayou Community Foundation through emergency COVID-19 grant funds to distribute soon throughout the tribal community.

Procter and Gamble donated many essential supplies to the United Houma Nation to send out to the community. Procter and Gamble, a national conglomerate of cleaning and household brands, has a washing powder and soap distribution plant located in Alexandria, Louisiana. Procter and Gamble are involved with supporting community members and have a Native American Infinity group to help educate the public about Native American history.                                           

Brandon Vanderberg has worked at Procter and Gamble for 14 years and has been a part of the Native American Infinity group for 6 years. He has visited and helped many tribes across the United States.

“We work with Matthew 25: Ministries and helped ship an 18-wheeler load of products from various sites, to help with the Houma Tribe for distribution in support of the coronavirus,” said Brandon Vanderberg, Site Enzyme Leader for Procter and Gamble.

Tribal Council member for Terrebonne Parish Roxanna Foret, has been excited to see the amount of contribution Procter and Gamble has donated to the community.

“It’s exciting to see this big truckload of supplies and quality products from Procter and Gamble,” said Roxanna. “It’s things that people are going to be able to use things like laundry detergent, shampoo, and even face shields.”

(Left) Brandon Vanderberg with Proctor and Gamble, (Middle) UHN Principal Chief August-“Cocoa” Creppel, and (Right) Kevin Fuqua with Proctor and Gamble

Of big help with today’s delivery was Bayou Community Foundation who helped with securing the needed heavy equipment to offload the 39 pallets of supplies.  Bayou Community Foundation was established in 2012, due to the many disasters that have affected the communities of Lafourche and Terrebonne.  Since then, Bayou Community Foundation has donated $1.2 million since 2013 in annual grants towards helping non-profits. In 2015, they set up a special fund for nonprofits for the next disaster, which they thought would be a possible hurricane.  “We never imagined it would be a pandemic, but in March we realized this was a special circumstance,” said Jennifer Armond, Bayou Community Outreach Coordinator. “One that was creating extreme impacts on our residents from a health and economic perspective.”

Since then, they started accepting donations towards a bayou recovery fund and grants to help local nonprofits through this crisis. In April, they were able to donate $198 thousand to 21 nonprofits who were providing food, medicine, healthcare, mental health services, and much more from residents affected by COVID-19.

(Left) Jennifer Armond, Executive Director of the Bayou Community Foundation, and (Right) Lanor Curole, Administrator of the United Houma Nation working together to count and prepare the supplies to send out.

“We were delighted to grant $5,000 to the United Houma Nation, to distribute food, medical supplies, and cleaning supplies,” Jennifer said. “It’s really heartwarming to see the residents taking care of our own and helping each other.”

The United Houma Nation is working safely together to send out supplies to elders who are at most risk with the help and donations from local community members during the public health crisis. According to the CDC, American Indians are at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 due to several social and health factors.  In recognition of that challenge, the Tribe started making weekly “Wellness” calls to tribal elders to determine their needs and check in on their overall health and welfare.

It was very clear that elders needed help to remain homebound to prevent their exposure to the Coronavirus.  As soon as possible, food distributions began through partnerships with Second Harvest and funding from the Bayou Community Foundation.  Thanks to the shipment today from Proctor and Gamble, the UHN will be able to help elders ensure that their homes are sanitized and further limit their need to be exposed.  At present, the UHN is aware of 15 tribal citizens who have tested positive for Coronavirus along with 4 nontribal spouses who live in tribal households.  There have been 2 deaths reported to the Tribe.  “We are going to do whatever is in our power to keep our citizens safe and 2 deaths are 2 too many,” stated Chief August Creppel.

For more information please visit https://unitedhoumanation.org/ or call the office at (985) 223-3093.