HARRISBURG, Pa., Nov. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hunters are encouraged to donate deer meat to help feed the more than one million Pennsylvanians who are at risk for hunger through the Hunters Sharing the Harvest Program.
Agriculture Secretary George Greig today joined legislators, processors and hunters to kick off the program's 20th year during an event at Diller's Custom Deer Processing in Enola, Cumberland County. The program enables hunters to donate deer for processing into ground venison for distribution by Pennsylvania food banks, soup kitchens and pantries.
"Nearly 1.4 million Pennsylvanians are at risk for hunger in one of the most productive agricultural states in the northeast," said Greig. "By donating venison to this program, hunters can help combat hunger in their own communities."
Hunters can take their deer to one of more than 100 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 per pound of donated venison to reimburse processors.
Hunters Sharing the Harvest provides more than 750,000 meals to food banks, soup kitchens and social service programs. Last year, hunters donated nearly 100,000 pounds of venison to more than 4,000 emergency food assistance agencies in 53 participating counties through the state's 21 regional food banks.
"Each year, the Hunters Sharing the Harvest Program brings thousands of pounds of highly desired venison to the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank," said Kendall Hanna, executive director of the regional food bank. "The families we serve look forward to venison being available each year, and since 2001 we have distributed more than 103,000 pounds of the nutritious, high-protein product for their tables."
Pennsylvanians can also donate money to the Buck for the Pot campaign, which supports Hunters Sharing the Harvest. 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