(STATEHOUSE) - Legislation authored by State Senators Brent Steele (R-Bedford) and Michael Crider (R-Greenfield) that would help feed needy Hoosiers through the processing of donated deer meat passed the Senate today 50-0.
Senate Bill 364 seeks funding for the Sportsman's Benevolence Fund, which goes toward the processing of donated deer meat that is distributed at Indiana food banks. Hunters can donate their wild game, knowing that it will be used to provide roughly half a million meals at food banks across the state.
"Food banks can accumulate canned goods and other non-perishable food items, but they often struggle keeping a steady supply of nutritious protein," Crider said. "When the freezer is full, hunting often stops. This program gives our sportsmen an incentive to keep harvesting deer, knowing that they will both avoid the burden of processing fees and help feed their fellow Hoosiers."
In addition to feeding the hungry, this program also helps manage deer populations.
"This program serves the dual purpose of allowing Hoosiers to continue hunting and managing our wildlife populations while providing healthy meals to needy Hoosiers," Steele said. "Guaranteed funding for this worthwhile program will make sure donated meat is not wasted, but instead goes to help those who need it most."
The Sportsman's Benevolence Fund was created in 2008. It is currently funded primarily through donations, including an optional one dollar donation with the purchase of a hunting license. However, the donations have not been sufficient to allow the program to operate as it was designed.
SB 364 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.
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