In our ongoing efforts to help address food insecurity in the Commonwealth, we recently donated $5,000 to Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH). For those unfamiliar, HSH serves the Commonwealth by providing donated venison from hunters to provide food assistance to those in need. The funds will be used to cover butchering costs of approximately 100 deer harvested by hunters this year. In our neck of the woods, HSH is administered by Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) and the Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank.
HSH has distributed more than 1.5 million pounds of donated venison through food pantries and community assistance centers since 1991. Last year, HSH broke records by processing more than 115,000 pounds of deer meat! Donations remain strong again this year according to John Plowman, the HSH Executive Director.
Plowman says that the increase in donations is largely due to monetary donations and a great awareness of the program. Businesses, community members, and hunters realize the value and effectiveness of the program and are excited to contribute each year. “The hunters have to have confidence that the deer that they worked hard to get is going to go where they wants it to go,” Plowman explained.
This year, HSH has partnered with the Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania food banks. This will help identify and access additional food assistance non-profits and deliver donated venison to those who need it the most. They are expecting a 50 percent increase in demand due to the pandemic. While donations increase, so do the costs of processing, transportation and refrigeration.
“We’re working on strategies to speed up distribution…eliminate previous ‘middle man’ handling costs and see that our product gets to dinner tables faster,” said Plowman. Food bank operators are expecting a long-term economic recovery from COVID-19 related slowdowns. With that in mind, Plowman added, “Our deer meat has never had more value to help people fighting hunger.”
In recent years, energy companies like Cabot, Williams, and Mountain Energy Services have become bigger players in HSH operations. “Cabot Oil & Gas’s corporate involvement changed our dual roles with this program for the better by maintaining the annual corporate support and matching it with their employee incentives to support HSH personally,” Plowman explained.
Here at Cabot, we are happy to be among a diverse mix of supporters in the Endless Mountains, including sportsman’s clubs and community organizations like the Towanda Gun Club and the Kenneth & Caroline Taylor Family Foundation and other corporations like Walmart VAP Foundation, Deer Park Lumber and Procter & Gamble. For more information about the program and to find out how you can help, visit the Hunters Sharing the Harvest website.