Two organizations are helping hunters from Jennings County and other area communities feed the hungry through a deer meat donation program.

Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry and the Dubois County Sportsmen Club have operated programs for years that partner Hoosier hunters with food distribution agencies for the purpose of feeding Hoosiers in need. They have been so successful that in 2013 the Indiana Department of Natural Resources joined their efforts through the Sportsman Benevolence Fund.

The partnership allows hunters to enjoy the deer hunting experience and then drop off their field-dressed deer to an approved processor. The Sportsman Benevolence Fund will pay the expense of processing the deer meat. The meat processor turns the meat into venison burger and divides the meat into 2-pound packages. The packages of meat will then be distributed to food banks and food distribution agencies.

“It’s a wonderful program and a Godsend to help us get protein to the people who need it the most in the 21 counties we serve,” said Brent Douthit, an employee of Gleaners Food Bank in Indianapolis.

Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry started in 2011 and donated 250 pounds of deer meat. By 2013, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry hunters had harvested and donated over 141,000 pounds of deer meat.

“We figure that was 600,000 meals for individual hungry Hoosiers. That was a very good feeling,” said Debra Treesh, who founded the organization with her husband Doug.

The packages of venison go first to the county where the meat is processed. Brewer Meat Packing in North Vernon is the approved meat processor for Jennings County.

Kitty Shepherd, director of the Jennings County Coordinating Council said she puts venison in food baskets with packages of Hamburger Helper.

“People really seem to like it, but we didn’t get any last here. I hope our hunters bring us some this year,” Shepherd said.

Ginger M. Miller, the director of the Good Samaritan Food Bank in North Vernon, said it was disappointing to not get any venison for a couple years.

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