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Kyle Hawn – Staff Writer | The Daily News
For lucky deer hunters who bag that doe or buck this season have an opportunity to give back by participating in Hunters Sharing the Harvest.
Hunters Sharing the Harvest is a 501C3 organization that has helped numerous families where participating butchers are paid for their services through sponsor-supported donations. They help to coordinate the meat deliveries to the local food banks.
In turn, the food banks redistribute the venison to more than 5,000 local food assistance provider organizations such as food pantries, missions, homeless shelters, hunter relief organizations and churches across the state that play a role in helping to fill the gaps for families and individuals at risk of hunter.
Since 1991, the program has helped distribute 1.2 million pounds of donated venison across the state.
“This program that’s been going on for almost 30 years now,” said Willis A. Sneath, site coordinator for HSH for Huntingdon County. “A successful hunter, if they take it to an authorized processor, we donate it to the harvest program, and the meat is distributed through the local food banks.”
According to Sneath, the meat is ground into hamburger when it’s sent to an authorized processor.
Last year, over 1,000 pounds of meat was donated ot be donated to area food banks, according to Sneath, and this year, people are already taking advantage of the program to help those in need.
“We’ve had about 17 deer donated already, and each deer, you figure, weighs about 40-50 pounds,” he said. “That’s how much we have going over already.”
In Huntingdon County, Sneath said Brenneman’s Meat Market is the only local authorized processor participating in the Hunters Sharing the Harvest program.
“They can take their whole deer there, donate it, and they will process it at no charge,” said Sneath.
Additionally, each deer is also tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD), said Sneath.
“We have a system in place so for every deer that’s donated (to Hunters Sharing the Harvest) we’re having them tested for CWD,” he said. “If that does test positive, that deer will be disposed of.”
Local participating food banks include the Huntingdon Food Pantry, the Mount Union Food Pantry, the Southern Huntingdon County Food Bank and the Hopewell Food Pantry.
For more information about the program, visit the website for HSH at www.sharedeer.org.