The primary focus of the "Rainbow House" is quality clothing freely given. We also have shoes, toys, and household items that are collected by donations, and provided free to our customers. School supplies and emergency food are also provided free and supplied with generous donations from our members. We provide Crisis Baskets which contain household necessities to emergency customers. Cherokee communities at-large in the country have provided the funding. (see Cherokee Communities Visit)
The Cherokee Elders Council promotes and preserves the Cherokee language, culture, and traditions through teaching and community involvement. We are a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, of action oriented, not politically affiliated individuals. The Elders operate a "free store" in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, clothing, household items, and emergency food are available.
The Cherokee Elders Council, Inc. is a 501-C-3 non-profit charity, non-politically affiliated group of action oriented Cherokees over 50 years of age. This group revived and reformed the Elders Council on the 9 th of July 1996. The Council had not existed for more than 150 years. The Elders Council is known as the "Wisdom Givers". The Cherokee Elders Council strives to promote and preserve our language, traditions and culture through teaching and involvement in community activities.
The Cherokee Elders determined that there was a need to create a system to help people who, for whatever reason, were having difficulty providing adequately for themselves or their families. The individual or family's need might be for adequate or appropriate clothing, food, household items, furniture, infant items or various other articles. To this end the Cherokee Elders Council conceptualized and developed a "Free Store" called The Cherokee Elders Council Rainbow House . Our stated goal is to provide assistance to anyone expressing need. We resolved to offer aid in a manner that would protect and preserve individual dignity.
The Rainbow House was established in an old store front at Locust Grove, Oklahoma in December of 1997. We have since moved the Rainbow House operation to our new building in a new location, 101 Market Place, Locust Grove, Oklahoma.
The Rainbow House in Locust Grove, Oklahoma has assisted thousands of our community members every year since 1997. The Rainbow House is operated by Cherokee and non-Cherokee volunteers. The major task of the Rainbow House is to collect donated clothing, non-perishable food items, household goods, furniture, toys and any other useable item. All donations and contributions from church groups, individuals, private groups and corporate organizations are then distributed to all those expressing need whether they are Cherokee or are non-Cherokee without charge. The Rainbow House serves as the site for all other Cherokee Elders Council projects and programs.
The Cherokee Elders Rainbow House's day to day operation is directed by Elders -in- Charge and the Rainbow House committee. The committee is composed of Cherokee Elders Council members and Associate members. All those who are members of the Committee are seated by authorization of the Cherokee Elders Council's Executive Board of Directors. Opinions and suggestions are needed and solicited from the Rainbow House volunteers who are a vital part of our organization. The Rainbow House is successful because of the involvement of community members who volunteer their time to work in tandem with Elders Council members. It is the very best example of people helping people. There are no paid positions in the organization. The Rainbow House is an all-volunteer project operated by a dedicated staff of volunteer workers who show up day after day to provide care and always go the extra step in providing for our people.
The Rainbow House has served thousands of individuals and families by providing food, clothing, coats, shoes, blankets, household items, and furniture. Special items such as walkers, canes and infant items and formula are collected and distributed upon request, when available. We are gratified that other social service organizations have referred needy individuals and families to our Rainbow House. We have, for the most part, been able to meet those needs. We reciprocate by providing referrals to appropriate resources located in our communities. Our Mobile Rainbow House is our attempt to provide help and resources to those in less accessible communities who are unable to travel to the Locust Grove facility.
The Cherokee Elders Council has put in place several projects that benefit the communities. Among those is The Cherokee Elders Rainbow House's most satisfying activity , the Annual Christmas Party at the Rainbow House . The Elders, through contributions from our big-hearted benefactors, provide Christmas toys and food for well over 400 families. We also seek out the elderly shut in’s and give them a Christmas basket with items especially geared to elderly needs and we deliver the baskets to their homes.
The Food Fund project has allowed us to provide emergency food baskets to many hungry families each month. The food fund has several dedicated benefactors who keep this project funded. The Elders have established a program to assist in crisis and disasters by making up Crisis Baskets of personal hygiene items and house cleaning items that are needed when a family is devastated by fires or other natural disasters. These simple items have been demonstrated to be the most basic of the family’s immediate needs after a disaster.
The Cherokee Elders Council is an all-volunteer organization. No one receives any payment for their time or their work. It supported by our membership donations, donations and gifts from individuals, cooperation’s and contributions from other organizations. We support our Rainbow House projects with these funds. The Cherokee Elders Council in October 2012 moved the Rainbow House operation to our new building to 101 Market Place, Locust Grove, Oklahoma. This will enhance and improve our services to the communities in eastern Oklahoma. In the future we hope to add more services for seniors and youths in the form of crafts, language, and educational classes. As Cherokee Elders and "Wisdom Givers" our mandate is to teach our people. We hope we do this in good part, by example.