Hunters urged to donate venison to help feed hungry

With deer season fast approaching on Monday, hunters are being asked to donate their deer meat to help feed the area’s hungry.

A program called “ Hunters Sharing the Harvest’’ will allow hunters to do just that. The program distributes to Pennsylvania food banks, soup kitchens and pantries after hunters donate their deer meat to one of more than 100 participating meat processors throughout the commonwealth.“Hunger affects more than 1.5 million Pennsylvanians in all corners of our state,” state Department of Agriculture Secretary George Greig said. “By donating venison, hunters can help keep food on their neighbor’s tables this winter.”

Hunters can donate any amount of their venison to the program, from several pounds to the entire animal. Those who donate an entire deer are asked to make a minimum $15 tax-deductible contribution to help cover processing costs. The program covers all remaining fees.

The Department of Agriculture, through the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program, contributes $1.25 per pound of donated venison to reimburse processors. The deer meat is processed into ground venison before it is distributed.

“Through Hunters Sharing the Harvest, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank is able to offer a high-quality meat product that is highly desired by the families we serve,” said Joe Arthur, executive director of the regional food bank. “The donated venison is a great source of a low-fat, high protein meat product that is beneficial for a balanced diet.”

Pennsylvanians can also donate money to the “Buck for the Pot” campaign, which supports “Hunters Sharing the Harvest.’’