Local food bank asking hunters for deer donations - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Local food bank asking hunters for deer donations

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- The DNR is urging hunters to donate more deer meat this year.  In the past 12 years, donations have topped 3.5 million pounds.  But the giving at one local food bank dropped off significantly last year.

"We have a lot of people that bring their deer in," points out Gunderson Foods Owner Jon Seipel.

Its deer hunting season and that means Gunderson Foods in Mondovi is busy.  The store uses its resources to help do something the DNR has been asking hunters to consider; donating deer you aren't going to eat to someone who needs it.

"We donate part of our processing and then the state pays for part of the processing.  The hunter gives the whole animal to the food pantry," Seipel explains.  "It's a great program.  It really is."

Feed My People Food Bank in Eau Claire just received its first shipment of ground venison on Wednesday; more than 185 pounds in total.

"Any meat products we get will be distributed within a day or two," says Emily Moore with Feed My People Food Bank. "As soon as we receive the venison, we put it on our website and then any of the 100 programs that are working with Feed My People can order whatever it is they need and we will get it to them."

The food bank says it received about 1,000 pounds of donated venison last year.  That may sound like a lot, but it's not even half as much as it usually receives.  Feed my people attributes the drop-off to the economy and the Earn-A-Buck program being stopped in the state.

"People seem to need the food themselves and do keep the meat themselves," Moore admits.  "But in many years, there will be thousands of pounds donated and it's very popular."

The DNR says in the past 12 years, hunters have donated 80,000 deer that were processed into ground venison.  The pantry expects donations to pick up once gun deer season starts on November 17th.

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