Hoosier hunters team with food banks to fight hunger
Monday, November 20, 2023
Indiana food banks are in dire need of meat for families who simply cannot afford to buy it at the grocery store and local hunters are doing their part to help hungry neighbors.
An Indiana Department of Natural Resources program, known as "Indiana Hunt for Hunger," is underway. It makes it easy for hunters to donate harvested deer to participating meat processors at no charge. The ground venison is distributed to local food banks.
Carmen Cumberland, president and CEO of Community Harvest Food Bank in Ft. Wayne, cannot remember a time when the need for meats has been higher.
"It is a limited item," Cumberland explained. "We are always in need of proteins, knowing that is essential to people's diet. We don't get it as often as we'd like, because the cost is expensive."
According to Feeding America, one in nine people in Indiana faces hunger, and one in eight children. Charitable programs cannot fully support the demand.
Cumberland stressed the need for emergency food is already high this year, and predicts it will only grow higher as the holiday season approaches.
"Our need right now, our distributions, are greater than anything we saw during COVID," Cumberland pointed out. "Back during COVID, the need was there, but there were extra benefits. All those have been taken away."
Cumberland added the increased demand means the food bank must limit some of the product it gives out.
She reported roughly one in three clients who ask for help do not qualify for state assistance. She wants Hoosiers to know food banks are here for them, and said in many cases, people would be surprised at the faces of hunger in their community.
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