(GREENE COUNTY) - The Greene County Chapter of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) ministry has helped give more than 3,000 pounds of meat to local food pantries.
FHFH County Coordinator Brady Miller said starting with Youth Season in September, there were a total of 52 deer donated by local hunters until the end of deer season at the beginning of January.
Sabrina Westfall, of the Greene County Daily World reports, there were also hogs and beef donated by local farmers, which brought the total donation to 3,250 pounds of meat distributed to 10 Greene County food pantries and feeding missions.
"We still have some pork that will be distributed and should push our total to nearly 4,000 pounds," Miller added.
Miller said the deer donations have decreased over the last couple years, which is why the donations have been opened up beyond the donations during deer season.
"This year's deer donations were down about 10 percent from last year, and overall we have seen a downward trend in deer donations for the past several years. That is one reason we have began to accept donations of beef and hogs. We'd like to reach the hungry with donated deer as this is a really good way to get hunters involved with supporting their local communities, but if we don't get the deer donation numbers we extend it to other folks to donate beef or hogs. Our primary goal is to help feed the hungry here in Greene County, and we'll use whatever means we have, be it deer or livestock to help out," Miller said.
Miller explained a log is kept of each donation to the pantry in order to be sure the donations are distributed evenly. He added the ministry is always looking to expand their donations around the county.
With the help of grants, donations and the Bloomfield Processing Plant, it is free for farmers and hunters to have their meats processed and donated.
"If we didn't have someone like them (Bloomfield Processing) we wouldn't be able to do it anyway. It (deer meat) has to go through licensed, insured and inspected processor," Miller said.
Grants and fundraisers make it possible for the ministry to cover the cost of processing fees. Miller noted three of the major community grants come from Utilities District of Western Indiana REMC, Wal-Mart, and the Greene County Foundation.
The mission is year-round and the ministry is always looking for donation of meats, or funding, to help keep the pantries stocked.
Miller said the mission is so important because it is hard for the food pantries and food ministries to keep meats in stock due to the high prices.
"Even though deer season is over, if anyone is interested in donating beef, cattle or hogs to our program we are still able to accept those and will pay 100 percent of the processing cost. Also, if anyone is interested in donating funding to our program to help us pay for these processing costs we always accept funding donations," Miller said.
FHFH is a non-profit organization, and all donations are tax deductible.
Anyone interested in donating to the program or who has questions can contact Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-876-9699.
Prospective donors can call Bloomfield Processing at 384-4512 for business hours.
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