Twenty years ago, concerned Missouri bowhunters started a program in a few counties to share the deer they killed with neighbors who were hungry. Soon after, a statewide system was developed and managed by Missouri Department of Conservation and Conservation Federation of Missouri: Share the Harvest.
Share The Harvest offers an easy way for hunters to donate venison, a low-fat source of protein, to feed hungry families. Here’s how it works:
— The MDC and Conservation Federation sign up processors who agree to package the deer for a flat fee provided by the Federation. In some cases, the fee covers the entire cost of processing.
— Hunters bring their deer to these processors, designate how much of the deer is for Share the Harvest, and in some cases pay an additional fee (often $10-$15).
— Food Banks around Missouri distribute the ground deer meat to their clients via local food pantries.
Share The Harvest is a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN program.
- Hunters win by doing their part to help people in need
- Cooperating processing plants get positive PR for their involvement and donations of locker space
- The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri (& others) gets a valuable hard-to-get protein in large quantities
- Food pantry clients get a tasty, nutritious addition to their diet during cold weather
- Department of Conservation gets yet another tool in managing the deer herd.
In the 2012-13 deer season, hunters in The Food Bank’s 32-county service area donated 150,288 pounds of venison, or almost half the total donated statewide! (statewide deer kill: 311,304). In the 2011 season, about 190,000 pounds were contributed in The Food Bank’s area.
Click here to find a participating meat processor in your area or to learn more about the program.
For more information, call The Food Bank at (573)474-1020.