WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Local Food Pantries Adding Deer Meat to the Menu

Nov 16, 2014

The Western Illinois Regional Council is starting up its annual Hunters Helping the Hungry program.

Deer hunters can donate a portion or all of their deer meat to area food pantries.

Credit www.ks-mo-hunt.org

The meat can be dropped off at various processing lockers, which will turn the meat into venison burgers.

The WIRC feels program has been a success since it began nearly 25 years ago, bringing in thousands of pounds of meat every year.

Suzan Nash, WIRC Executive Director,  said the amount donated varies from year to year.

"One year, we received about 500 pounds of donated deer, and another year we had about 25,000 pounds. It's been a wonderful program, we get some very positive feedback, and we really enjoy it," Nash said.

"We typically hope to get about anywhere from ten to fifteen thousand pounds this year."

The WIRC will distribute half of whatever it receives to food pantries in Henderson, McDonough, Hancock, and Warren counties. The regional council keeps the other half to distribute through its own food pantry.

The program lasts until deer hunting season is over, usually at the end of the year.

Nash said many hunters head out the weekend after Thanksgiving, though bow-hunting already started. She said those who bow-hunt and wish to donate venison are able to do so.