TULSA, Okla. — Hundreds of undelivered boxes of donated food had been sitting outside near a Tulsa highway, and some had been moved as of Monday.
In a FOX23 Investigation, the nonprofit Oklahoma Heartland Heroes Foundation was accused of leaving food donated outside near Highway 75 and 66th Street North.
Boxes of food including yogurt, apples, cottage cheese, and more were in boxes stacked up high, shielding the public’s view of the spoiled food.
The USDA said they gave food boxes to the Oklahoma Heartland Heroes Foundation expecting them to be delivered.
Victor Colbert who runs the nonprofit says the spoiled food wasn’t his fault, and that he was overwhelmed by extra food delivered before the arctic blast that hit the region in February.
Since FOX23′s first investigation aired in early March, the foundation’s Facebook page disappeared along with the Heartland Heroes website.
The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma says it also gave the nonprofit donated food with the expectation it would be given to families who could use it.
Greg Raskin says the food bank partnered with Heartland Heroes since 2019.
Raskin says the food bank had received complaints in September but that he thought the nonprofit had fixed the issues. After seeing FOX23′s video, the food bank severed its ties with Heartland Heroes.
Colbert told FOX23 at the beginning of March that his nonprofit would only be staying on the property behind a local church temporarily and would be gone by mid-March.
FOX23 went back to check recently and saw the stacks of boxes are almost gone.
Two barns are gone, but instead there are two portable storage containers -- showing Heartland Heroes hasn’t quite made it out yet.
Colbert said in early March that he was contracted with the USDA to deliver food, but the USDA clarified in a statement that they did not deal with Heartland Heroes directly.
“USDA was made aware of the allegation and immediately contacted the vendor... The vendor immediately ended the partnership with the Oklahoma Heartland Heroes Foundation and they are no longer receiving food boxes. Additionally, USDA is conducting a further investigation into the allegations against the non-profit organization to determine additional actions that may be taken.”
Colbert said he did nothing wrong and only wants to feed people.
The Tulsa Health Department has gone to check after getting complaints about the nonprofit. They say about two-thirds of the spoiled food has been removed.
The USDA says it’s currently assessing the food bo program to figure out plans for the future. A couple of weeks ago, a group of 500 people made up of distributors, nonprofits and those in varying communities talked about what worked well in the program and what didn’t.
Cox Media Group