Hunters Sharing the Harvest in Pa. Marks 25th Anniversary
After 25 years, a statewide program that works to distribute donated venison to food banks and food assistance centers marked a 2016 milestone as Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) celebrated the donation of its one-millionth pound of meat during an event at the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank in Harrisburg.
Hunters Sharing the Harvest is a non-profit charity that coordinates the processing and distribution of donated deer meat throughout the state for families at risk of hunger. The program has become a nationally-recognized model, with many other states adopting similar efforts.
Noting contributions by other state agencies, corporate and business sponsors, hunters and sportsmen’s groups, Bureau of Forestry Director Dan Devlin said DCNR “supports this most worthy effort by supporting hunting in our state forestlands and state parks.
“Through its interactive website and a wealth of hunting information, DCNR continues to support this great effort by encouraging deer hunting on the 2.2 million acres of state forestland and roughly 80 percent of the state park lands it maintains.”
“The partnership between Hunger-Free Pennsylvania and Hunters Sharing the Harvest for the past 25 years has been instrumental in maintaining a steady supply of high protein, nutritious product through our network of 20 food banks and charitable food distribution organizations. We could not possibly purchase this product on the open market,” said Sheila Christopher, executive director of Hunger-Free Pennsylvania.
During an average hunting season, the HSH program’s goal is to channel about 100,000 pounds of processed venison annually through the state’s 20 regional food banks, which then re-distribute the protein source to more than 5,000 local provider charities, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and homeless shelters.
The donations help to provide the equivalent of more than 500,000 meals annually to feed the nearly 1.8 million Pennsylvanians—or 1 out of every 7 residents—who are considered to be food insecure.
Hunters interested in participating in the program can take their deer to one of 115 participating meat processors throughout the state and donate any amount of their venison to the program. Pennsylvanians also can donate money to the Buck for the Pot campaign, which supports HSH.