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Deer Hunters Can Help Feed Hungry Michigan Families

About 30,000 pounds of venison are collected each year in Michigan to feed hungry families. Credit: Scott Bauer/USDA
About 30,000 pounds of venison are collected each year in Michigan to feed hungry families. Credit: Scott Bauer/USDA
October 8, 2015

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan's deer hunting season is expected to be better than last year, which could mean more food for the state's hungry. Michigan Sportsman Against Hunger collects about 30,000 pounds of venison each year that is processed and donated to charities that feed people in need.

Program President Dean Hall explains there are working families in all parts of the state that don't make enough money to make ends meet.

"Any way they can help, it helps to feed and helps to basically make a decision for a lot of people at the end of the day whether they're going to have a hot meal to eat or whether they're going to go to bed hungry," says Hall.

According to Feeding America, one-in-six Michiganders struggles with hunger, and Hall says 30,000 pounds of venison can yield more than 150,000 meals for families in need.

Bow hunting season began last week and runs until Oct. 18. Whitetail rifle season runs Nov. 15 through the 30. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources estimates the season will likely be more successful than last year.

Most food banks and pantries receive mostly nonperishable donations. Hall says that's why venison, or other meat for that matter, is an especially appreciated donation.

"Venison being extremely high in protein, extremely low in fat and basically during the hunting season that's what we depend on is the hunters to go out there and take an animal to help feed the hungry," he says.

Hall says the program is run completely on donations, and non-hunters can also help contribute by volunteering or through monetary contributions.

"All those donations, the vast majority of them actually go to pay for reimbursing the processors for the processing work they do to turn the venison into burger that can be used for a vast majority of different foods to feed the hungry," says Hall.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI