FARMERSBURG, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Through the Department of Natural Resources of Indiana’s Hunt for Hunger program, hunters are able to donate deer meat to help hungry Hoosiers. 

According to a release from the DNR, “Indiana Hunt for Hunger turns donated deer into healthy venison that is provided to Hoosiers through food banks like Gleaners across the state.” The Hunt for Hunger initiative is taking place as deer firearms hunting season begins and the need for protein donations remains high throughout Indiana.

Indiana First Lady Janet Holcomb and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gathered at Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana on Monday to let hunters know how they can help hungry Hoosiers.

“Indiana Hunt for Hunger combines two time-honored Hoosier traditions—deer hunting and helping our neighbors in need,” said First Lady Holcomb. “As you’re out hunting across Indiana this season, if you’re lucky enough to harvest a deer, or possibly even two, please consider donating it to be turned into healthy venison for Hoosiers experiencing hunger.”

As the program started in 2008 it was originally called the Sportsmen’s Benevolence Fund and has since grown across the state to provide hundreds of thousands of meals to Hoosiers.

“Too many Hoosiers are struggling to put food on the table. Our member food banks around the state are serving record numbers of families,” said Emily Weikert Bryant, executive director of Feeding Indiana’s Hungry. “Items like protein can be unaffordable on a tight household budget, creating a high demand for it at our food banks. By hunters taking an extra deer and donating it through Hunt for Hunger, Hoosier food banks and pantries will have more healthy protein to share with our friends and neighbors this deer season.”

The process of the Hunt for Hunger initiative includes hunters taking their Hunters take their field-dressed, harvested deer to one of more than 50 participating meat processing sites in the state. From there, the processor will take the meat and donate it to area food banks. In addition, Indiana Hunt for Hunger pays the processing fees, so there is no extra cost to the hunter.

“Donations can make a huge difference because the meat from one deer can provide 200 meals for a family,” said Dan Bortner, DNR director. “One Hoosier hunter can make an incredible difference.”

A list of participating vendors is posted on the DNR’s Hunt for Hunger webpage, and any processors interested in joining the list can contact Capt. Jet Quillen or call 317-232-0658 for more information.