Deer Hunters Donate Valuable Protein to Nebraska Food Banks

Rifle deer hunting season in Nebraska opens Saturday. Hunters can donate deer to help feed the hungry. (Photo courtesy of NEBRASKAland Magazine/Nebraska Game and Parks Commission)
November 12, 2015 - 8:30pm

As rifle deer hunting season opens this weekend, a deer shot in Broken Bow could end up feeding a needy family as far away as Omaha. 

That’s because of the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program, in its fourth year in Nebraska. Hunters contribute deer, and the processing is paid for by donations. The meat is then given to charitable organizations to distribute to those in need.

Angie Grote, donor relations manager for the Food Bank for the Heartland, says the venison is a valuable contribution.

“Protein and meat are items that aren’t donated as frequently to Food Bank for the Heartland, so any time we receive those donations they are greatly appreciated,” Grote said. “They definitely fly off the shelves.”

Donating to Hunters Helping The Hungry

For more information on the program and how to donate, visit the Hunters Helping the Hungry website or contact coordinator Teresa Lombard at 402-471-5430.

The Food Bank for the Heartland is the default organization where the venison goes unless processors specify another charity. In 2014, the Food Bank for the Heartland network distributed more than 10,000 pounds of meat. But sometimes, they have to travel a ways to get it.

“Food Bank for the Heartland has a 78,000-square-mile service area,” Grote said.  “Our drivers are amazing and they’re used to some long hauls.”

One of those “long hauls” includes picking up venison from processor Steve Burnett in Broken Bow, Nebraska, more than 200 miles from the Food Bank’s headquarters in Omaha. Burnett has been involved with the Hunters Helping the Hungry program since it began in 2012.

“We don’t normally do deer as a general rule,” Burnett said. “But this was an opportunity to not only be in the business but to serve a greater good.”

Once the Food Bank for the Heartland picks up the meat, they make a note on their online ordering system, where more than 200 non-profit partners around the state can order it as needed. Grote says it’s an ongoing need.

“We hope that the program will continue to do really well,” Grote said. “We are grateful to the hunters and the processors and the supporters of this program because it’s definitely making a difference here in the Heartland.”



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