November 29, 2012

Hunters, meat processors, food banks provide meals to poor

PRATT—During the 12-day Kansas firearm deer season, which opened Wednesday, Nov. 28, more than 50,000 deer may be harvested. In some areas of the state, hunters can obtain up to five whitetail antlerless deer permits, in addition to their either-sex permit. And while additional harvest helps stabilize and control the deer population, many hunters don’t want or need more than one or two deer in the freezer. That is where Kansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry (KSHFH) comes into the picture. KSHFH is a nonprofit organization that is the conduit for hunters to donate deer and provide food for hungry Kansans. With the help of hunters, meat processors, and private donors, KSHFH annually provides thousands of meals to those in need. Just one deer can feed nearly 200 hungry people in the state. In 2011, 1,038 deer were donated through KSHFH, providing nearly 225,000 meals through 100 food banks across the state.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism makes supporting this program easy. When outdoorsmen and women buy licenses, permits, or stamps, they can donate $2 to fund the program, which the agency collects for KSHFH. Contributions from hunters, businesses, churches, sportsmen’s clubs, organizations and other foundations help KSHFH pay butchers to process, package and freeze the donated venison for distribution by local food pantries. Volunteers help organize and coordinate the efforts of KSHFH in communities across the state by helping with fundraising, promotional gatherings, meat donation, meat distribution and much more.

KSHFH invites hunters to donate any legally harvested deer to one of the more than 40 participating meat processors around the state. To find one nearest you, go online to www.kshfh.org and click on "Lockers." It’s always a good idea to call ahead before taking your deer to a processor. There is no cost to donate your deer as long as the KSHFH organization has sufficient funding to cover the processing expense. Donated game must be field dressed and legally tagged.