A quarter-million pounds of venison has been donated by Missouri hunters this year to charities. But supporters of the program hope to quadruple that amount.
The Missouri Conservation Federation’s “Share the Harvest” program has been going on for almost twenty years. Hunters can donate all or part of the meat from the deer they kill. It’s processed and passed along to community food banks, Salvation Army units, and other charities.
More than five-thousand hunters worked with more than 100 processors in 74 counties to make the program work in 2010. But that 252,000 pounds is just a morsel. The federation estimates the meat from the most recent deer season tops 18-million pounds.
The federation’s David Murphy says there’s no reason Share the Harvest could not be a million pound effort. He says, “It’s a huge food resource for our people…We have a great tradition of eating venison here.”
More than thirty counties don’t have a Share the Harvest program. Funding is also tightl the federation helps offset the costs by processors who prepare the meat for charities.