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Sharing the Harvest Program Provides Local Hunters Option to Donate Venison
Since 1991, the Hunters Sharing the Harvest venison donation program (HSH) has coordinated the processing and distribution of donated wild game from hunters and municipal herd reduction sources to hungry people throughout Pennsylvania.
An average-sized deer will provide enough highly nutritious, low-cholesterol meat for 200 meals.
This sportsmen-inspired community service outreach effectively channels this wholesome venison product via an integrated network of approved deer processors and food banks down to the most local charitable provider organizations in our urban and rural communities.
HSH has evolved as a respected partner with deer management practices throughout the Commonwealth.
Bill Hearst, the regional HSH coordinator for Clarion County, told exploreClarion.com that he is a hunter and enjoys the sport; however, he doesn’t particularly like eating venison.
“Some people love venison,” he said. “Those people will eat it all year long. Others only want it once in a while and that’s it.”
Some hunters will still have a freezer full of deer meat when the new hunting season arrives. These are the hunters who often donate to the effort, according to Hearst.
PJ’s Country Market located at 19633 Route 208 in Fryburg works with HSH by processing the meat which is then picked up by area charities.
John Kerle, of Charitable Deeds in Knox, said that his charity organization has the facilities to store and distribute the meat. They can even freeze it if necessary.
Charitable Deeds serves Clarion, Venango, and Forest Counties.
In Venango County, donated deer can be taken to Ubers Custom Processing at 421 Palm Hill Road in Polk.
HSH, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity, has been reaching out to other processors hoping they will also get involved. The charity is supported through individuals and businesses, including the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Participating HSH butchers are paid for their services through sponsor-supported donations. They help to coordinate the meat deliveries to the local food banks. The food banks, in turn, redistribute the venison to local food assistance provider organizations such as food pantries, missions, homeless shelters, hunger-relief organizations, and churches.
According to HSH, an estimated 150,000 pounds of ground venison was provided last year to more than 5,000 food banks and food assistance centers statewide.
HSH has distributed 1.2 million pounds of donated venison since 1991.
For more information about HSH and to locate a local processor, visit sharedeer.org.
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