HARRISBURG – Hunters can help food banks, pantries and soup kitchens feed Pennsylvania’s hungry by donating extra deer meat to a statewide network that distributes it, said Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff and Game Commission Director Carl Roe.
Roe and Wolff visited Diller’s Deer Processing in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County, to promote Hunters Sharing the Harvest, which is a program that encourages hunters to donate deer for processing into ground venison for the state’s nutritionally at-risk citizens.
“The recent economic downturn has many families seeking the help of food banks, pantries and soup kitchens,” said Wolff. “By donating an extra deer or parts of a deer to the Hunters Sharing the Harvest program, hunters can help ensure that Pennsylvanians have enough to eat this winter. I urge all hunters and processors to participate in this essential program to help keep our friends and neighbors healthy.”
Participating hunters can take their deer to one of the nearly 80 participating meat processors throughout the state and identify how much of the venison – from several pounds to the whole animal – they would like to donate.
If the entire deer is donated, the hunter is asked to make a minimum $15 tax-deductible contribution to help cover processing costs. Hunters Sharing the Harvest will pay the remaining fees.
Hunters may also donate a portion of their deer by paying the full processing fee and notifying the processor to hold a specified amount for the program.
“Hunters Sharing the Harvest exists because of the generosity of Pennsylvania’s hunters,” said Roe. “For more than 15 years, avid sportsmen and women have been committed to serving those in need and have made a tremendous impact. I encourage all hunters to help make sure every citizen of the commonwealth has food on their table by donating extra venison this hunting season.”
Established in 1991, Hunters Sharing the Harvest provides more than 200,000 meals annually to food banks, churches and social services feeding programs. Last year, hunters donated more than 100,000 pounds of venison.
“Across Pennsylvania, more than 1.3 million people are at risk of hunger,” said Kendall Hanna, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. “Hunters Sharing the Harvest helps to provide food that is high in protein and lean. We are extremely grateful for hunters’ participating in the program and supporting Pennsylvanians in need.”
To learn more about Hunters Sharing the Harvest and obtain a list of participating meat processors and county coordinators, visit the Game Commission’s Web site and click on “Hunting” and then “Hunters Sharing the Harvest.” Information may also be found here or by calling toll-free 866-474-2141.