2017-12-07 / Front Page

Food Basket Encourages Hunters To “Share The Harvest”

By Cassidy Pittman
STAFF WRITER


Issac Strait, owner of Strait’s Meat Market, lends his master butchering skills to the Hunters Sharing the Harvest program, a venison donation program that allows hunters to share their extra venison with families in need. Issac Strait, owner of Strait’s Meat Market, lends his master butchering skills to the Hunters Sharing the Harvest program, a venison donation program that allows hunters to share their extra venison with families in need. Local hunters can pay it forward this year with a unique program that gives them all the fun, and even more glory. Since 1991, Pennsylvania has had a little-known program called Hunters Sharing the Harvest, which donates to the local Food Basket. It can be the whole deer, or just the parts the hunter doesn’t want. Either way, it eliminates wasting of valuable resources, and helps the needy.

It works like this: Hunters go out and bag their buck, whether for food or sport, and bring it to a local butcher who is certified to process the meat and give it to local charities that work to feed the hungry. Currently, there are over 1,135,000 million Pennsylvanians at risk of hunger, and food with high nutritional value at a cheap price is a rarity.

The Fulton County Food Basket, the local food bank that feeds roughly 11 percent of the county’s less fortunate citizens, has been working with the nonprofit program for several years, and it is one of the few ways that they can get free, nutritional meat for all those in need. Venison is a healthier alternative to beef, with roughly less than half the amount of fats and carbohydrates as an equal amount of beef. It provides a substantial amount of protein, and has many vitamins such as iron, riboflavin, and B-3, 6 & 12. Especially in a time where it is cheaper to buy junk than it is to buy nutritional food, any healthy sustenance, especially for growing children, is greatly appreciated. Last year, Share the Harvest was able to provide more than 200,000 meals.

If you are interested in donating your harvest, it can be taken to Strait’s Meat Market at 304 Possum Hollow Road in Harrisonville. There is no processing fee as the state now pays for all of it, so all the hunter must do is give the deer to the shop. Owner Issac Strait has had his butcher shop for upwards of 18 years and has been a participant in Sharing the Harvest for the last eight years. So far, his shop is the only one in the county that participates. In the beginning, he was only receiving 3 to 5 deer a year, but now most years he sees 20 to 30 donated deer. Strait, who hopes to help the community through his services, can donate most of the meat directly to the county Food Basket. In addition to Sharing the Harvest, Strait also donates his butchering skills to the Wounded Warrior Project and Safari Club, which allows veterans to hunt in a controlled space.

Along with venison, the Food Basket is always looking for fresh produce donations, as well as eggs, 100 percent juices, whole grains, and the usual canned and dried foods donations. For more information on the program visit www.sharedeer.org.

Return to top