|By State Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne)
Since 1991, the Hunter’s Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program has provided venison donated by hunters to families and individuals in need throughout Pennsylvania. HSH works with food banks, food pantries and charitable organizations in playing a critical role in filling the gaps for those at risk of hunger.
During last year’s hunting season generous hunters set a record with a total donation of 3,337 deer, which yielded more than 65 tons of venison and provided 667,400 meals. HSH has distributed more than 1.3 million pounds of donated deer meat since its creation.
Due to this increase in donations, additional meat processors have been recruited. During the current hunting season, the state Department of Agriculture will help to cover the service cost of more than 110 processors.
Making a donation could not be easier. Hunters can drop off a whole deer at a participating processor in his or her area, at no charge. Hunters who are willing to pay for the processing may also donate any portion of a deer. Simply let the processor know to set aside a specified amount reserved for the HSH program.
More information about local processors can be found online at www.ShareDeer.org
or by calling toll-free (866) 474-2141.
Venison is a 100 percent natural, low-fat, high-protein food source that is eagerly sought out by food distribution organizations given the low protein content of most of the foods they offer. On average, the meat from one average-sized deer can provide 200 meals.
Donations to the HSH program are more critical than ever, as about 1.1 million Pennsylvania residents live at risk of hunger. It is also estimated that 450,000 individuals meet a part of their food needs each month through a food pantry or soup kitchen.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office