ENOLA, Pa., Nov. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hunters can help feed the more than 1.5 million Pennsylvanians who are at risk for hunger by donating deer meat through Hunters Sharing the Harvest.
Hunters Sharing the Harvest helps hunters donate deer that is then processed into ground venison and distributed by Pennsylvania food banks, soup kitchens and pantries.
"Hunger is a reality for more than 600,000 Pennsylvania families who wonder how they'll find their next meal," Agriculture Secretary George Greig said today during an event to kick off the program at Diller's Custom Deer Processing in Enola, Cumberland County. "I encourage all hunters to donate venison this holiday season."
Hunters can take their deer to one of 90 participating meat processors throughout the state and donate any amount of their venison to the program – from several pounds to the whole animal. Any hunter donating an entire deer is 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.
"Venison is a great low-fat, high-protein meat product that is highly desired by the families we serve," said Joe Arthur, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank. "Through Hunters Sharing the Harvest we are able to provide this center-of-the-plate protein that provides great nutritional value to families and individuals struggling with hunger."
This year CONSOL Energy will donate $1 to the program for each limited edition camouflage baseball cap sold through the end of hunting season. Caps may be ordered at www.consolhuntershat.com. CONSOL Energy is also underwriting the processing costs for donated deer at approved meat processors in Allegheny, Fayette, Greene, Washington and Westmoreland counties.
"By working with CONSOL Energy, the department, Hunger-Free Pennsylvania food banks and other partners, Hunters Sharing the Harvest can do even more for our neighbors in need," said John Plowman, executive director of Hunters Sharing the Harvest. "We look forward to reaching more families who need help even more effectively."
Established in 1991, Hunters Sharing the Harvest today covers 53 participating counties and provides more than 750,000 meals annually to food banks, churches and social service feeding programs.
Last year, hunters donated nearly 100,000 pounds of venison to more than 4,000 emergency food assistance agencies through the state's 21 regional food banks.
To learn more about the program or to obtain a list of participating meat processors, visit www.sharedeer.org, or call toll-free 866-474-2141.
Media Contact: Samantha Elliott Krepps, 717-787-5085
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture