Local food banks and ministries received over 600 pounds of donated meat from area hunters.
Local farmers also contributed some of their harvest, though it is not known just how much that brings in, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry Ministry representative Brian Suttles said.
The ministry got its start in 1997 in Maryland. Champaign County created a chapter in 2007, Suttles said. The 2015-16 hunting season was the group’s ninth season for distributing food. Hunters brought in 11 deer carcasses, or approximately 677 pounds. The haul created approximately 2,200 individual meals of venison for Champaign County food banks and pantries, Suttles said. There were 11 hunters that donated for the 2015-16 season.
The number of farmers varies each year, Suttles added, and he did not have figures on how much food they brought in.
The food was distributed to The WhereHouse, The Caring Kitchen, the Concord Community Pantry in Urbana, Stepping Stone Outreach in Urbana, Lighthouse Tabernacle in Urbana, the Federation of Churches in St. Paris and Operation Rebirth in St. Paris, Suttles said.
The nationwide Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry ministry distributed over 110 tons of meat this year, providing more than 880,000 servings of food. Since 1997, the group has coordinated and paid for the donation, processing and distribution of 17.8 million meals, according to a press release.
“Farmers and hunters are two groups that are in every community. Historically, these two groups have always shown generosity and goodwill to their friends, neighbors and community, and have been very generous in giving back,” Suttles said.
The organization’s goal is to combat hunger, according to a press release.
“There are people struggling with hunger in every single county across this nation,” ministry Executive Director Josh Wilson said. “As hunters, we’re so blessed and we have so much to give. It’s a privilege to help people tackle the hunger problem by donating some of their harvest to feed their neighbors.”
Participating in the program is free, Suttles said, and the deer tagged are tax deductible as a charitable contribution.
The next hunting season begins with bow hunting in September, and ends with muzzleloader hunting in January 2017.
For more information, visit www.fhfh.org, call 866-438-3434, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.