"Meat" the Need Deer

JASPER/NEWTON - According to Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap,” 834,530 Indiana citizens are struggling with food insecurity in 2021. This is roughly 8 percent of Indiana’s total population. Of those 834,530 people, 239,540 children are facing food insecurity.

Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry is a nonprofit organization that was founded with the intention of providing free meals featuring protein to food banks across Indiana. They accept donations of both livestock and venison from hunters. 

The latest data on the Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry website shows that in 2019-2020, over 33,000 pounds of venison and nearly 160,000 pounds of livestock meat were donated, allowing the foundation to serve 770,000 meals in food banks across the state; however, in 2021, the foundation was able to serve over 1,065,000 meals.

In addition to donations of meat, the foundation is funded largely by grants from partners and supporters, including 15 local community foundations in Indiana. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources awarded Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry a $75,000 grant for their “Meat” the Need program.

“The DNR’s contribution will allow us to continue and expand on our mission of hunger relief by providing over 240,000 more meals through local hunger relief agencies. We are so grateful for the continued support of our efforts in responding to the needs of those in the community facing hunger.” said Debra Treesh, Executive Director of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.

This grant comes from the Sportsmen’s Benevolence Fund, which pays the processing fees for any field-dressed deer that is donated to participating butchers and processors. For donations of livestock, donators are required to call the processor prior to delivery.

“More than ever, families are struggling to buy groceries. Food banks, pantries and soup kitchens work to protect the most vulnerable and under-served in our communities and these agencies continue to face increased demand.” said Amber Zecca, Fund Development Director of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.  “To donate, farmers and hunters just need to take their livestock or deer to a local participating meat processor. After processing, local food banks and pantries are called to pick up the donation. There is absolutely no charge to donors.”

For those in Jasper county wanting to donate meat, Merkley and Sons Packing Company, Inc. is an approved venison butcher and distributor through Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. Newton county donators can have their meat processed at either Brooks Locker Plant or Hanford Packing Co.

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