ERIE, Pa. — Hunger or limited resources for food affects someone you know.
“1.6 million Pennsylvanians every day need some access to a need for some assistance on food,” said Secretary Russell Redding of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
Hunters Sharing the Harvest, a venison donation program, is doing something about it.
“Some hunters donate their whole deer if they don’t need it or if they had a couple for the season. Others will donate part of it,” said Sr. Karen Kosin, product resource manager of the Second Harvest Food Bank of NW PA.
After hunters drop off their harvest at participating meat processors, butchers will send the venison to soup kitchens and food banks. In northwestern Pennsylvania, Pacileo’s Great Lakes Deer Processing, 8890 Wattsburg Rd, participates and provides food to Second Harvest Food Bank.
“It’s wonderful to have that on inventory. Meat is a good protein source and deer meat is very nutritious,” said Kosin.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission is making the process more convenient. It is donating $20,000 to cover the cost of meat processing.
“Thanks to Hunters Sharing the Harvest and its partners and ours hunters, we’re able to get high-quality free range, organic venison in the hands of people that need it,” said the Bryan Burhans, the executive director of the commission.
During the 2017-18 season, hunters donated 3,337 deer, which resulted in 667,400 meals across the state.
“It’s a win-win,” said Kosin. “If they don’t need the venison, then we’ll be happy to have it and so will the people that enjoy venison.”
To learn more about Hunters Sharing the Harvest, visit sharedeer.org/.