Hunters who are successful in the upcoming deer hunting seasons are encouraged by the Pennsylvania Game Commission to consider participating in the state's Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) program, which channels donations of venison to local food banks, soup kitchens and needy families. Pennsylvania's HSH program is recognized as one of the most successful among similar programs in about 40 states.
'Using a network of local volunteer area coordinators and cooperating meat processors to process and distribute venison donated by hunters, HSH has really helped to make a difference for countless needy families and individuals in our state,' said Carl G. Roe, Game Commission executive director. 'Pennsylvanians who participate in this extremely beneficial program should be proud of the role they play. HSH truly does make a tremendous difference.'
Started in 1991, HSH has developed into a refined support service for organizations that assist the Commonwealth's needy. Each year, Hunters Sharing the Harvest helps to deliver almost 200,000 meals to food banks, churches and social services feeding programs.
'This program is all about the generosity of hunters and their desire to help make a difference,' Roe said. 'It's a program that many hunters have become committed to and enjoy supporting. After all, what is more gratifying than helping others in need''
As part of the program, hunters are encouraged to take a deer to a participating meat processor and identify how much of their deer meat - from an entire deer to several pounds - that is to be donated to HSH. If the hunter is donating an entire deer, he or she is asked to make a $15 tax-deductible co-pay, and HSH will cover the remaining processing fees. However, a hunter can cover the entire costs of the processing, which is tax deductible as well.
HSH established a statewide toll-free telephone number - 1-866-474-2141 ' which can answer hunters' questions about where participating meat processors can be found or other general inquiries about the program.
To learn more about the program and obtain a list of participating meat processors and county coordinators, visit the Game Commission's website (www.pgc.state.pa.us) and click on 'Hunters Sharing the Harvest' in the 'Quick Clicks' box in the right-hand column of the homepage, or go to the HSH website (www.sharedeer.org).