Hunters feed the hungry donated venison

new castle courier times Tired of turkey? Taste buds hankering for something a bit more gamey? Venison is available through Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.

Henry County residents are participating in Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, a program in which local hunters can donate deer meat to be distributed at food pantries.

According to Amber Zecca, community development coordinator for Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, two Henry County butcher shops accept deer donations including the Knightsotwn Locker and Maddie Moos Custom Meats in Middletown.

“Last year, there were 24 deer donations in Henry County, which provided around 5,000 meals for Henry County residents in need,” Zecca said.

Dan Titus, owner of Knightstown Locker, said 10 deer have been donated at his facility this season. The average deer provides 40-50 pounds of meat, he said. Once the locker receives a deer, it is processed and packaged similarly to hamburger and local food panties are called to pick up the finished product.

“It’s a good program for the hunters and the needy people in our community who benefit from it,” Titus said.

Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry also works closely with Second Harvest Food Bank, said Jennifer Hartzler, director of food procurement and volunteers at Second Harvest in Muncie.

According to Hartzler, Second Harvest services eight different counties and 110 groups, including those in Henry County. 

“This program is good to have because meat is hard to come by,” Hartzler said. “People raised here in this community know that deer meat is good meat. They grab it up and ask the pantries if they have venison available.”

Jeff Kundert, executive director at Westminster Community Center, said their food pantry had received venison in the past, but none so far this year. Steve Slocomb, director of God’s Grain Bin, said their food pantry was on a waiting list to receive deer meat.

In addition to feeding those in need, the program also helps control the deer population, a said a press release from Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. Donations are also tax-deductible.

“Overpopulation can also lead to malnourished and small deer, crop damage and auto accidents,” the press release said. “Thinning out the heard can help mitigate these problems.”

This article appeared in the New Castle Courier Times on November 26, 2014