Since 1991, a venison donation program that enlists hunters to share their extra harvest with food banks across the Keystone State has fed thousands.
Hunters Sharing The Harvest has distributed over 1.2 million pounds of donated venison statewide through a network of butchers to food banks across Pennsylvania, on average producing 200,000 meals for the state’s hungry each year.
“There’s no greater gift than feeding someone who is hungry, and our state’s hunters have stepped up to do that, time and again, by working through the program to generously donate meat from the deer they harvest to people in need,” said Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Bryan Burhans last week at a press conference. The PGC this year continued to donate $20,000 to the program to help defray deer-processing costs.
Last year, the HSH initiative saw hunters donate 3,337 harvested deer, which in turn yielded 130,930 pounds of venison that provided 667,400 meals for those in need– a program record. Even with that in mind, less than 1 percent of deer taken by hunters end up in the program. According to statistics from the state, sportsmen harvested an estimated 367,159 deer in the 2017-18 seasons, up about 10 percent from the previous year.
It is not just Pennsylvania that has such a success story, as most states have venison donation programs.
The National Rifle Association’s Hunters for the Hungry clearinghouse can put sportsmen with extra meat in contact with a local charitable organization for distribution.