By Ray Van Dusen/Monroe Journal
AMORY – It can be made into spaghetti, chili, hamburgers, sausage, jerky and much more, but the bottom line is that deer meat is rich in protein.
Given the availability of protein-rich foods at local food pantries will be slim, donations from local hunters are important to help provide for those less fortunate.
“Last year, we had a little more than 2,000 pounds donated through the Hunt for Hunger program and so far this year, we’ve received 1,500 pounds. The need is greater and the number of people coming to the food pantry is 15 percent higher than this time last year,” said Linda Holden, spokeswoman for the Amory Food Pantry.
Now in its seventh year, the Hunt for Hunger program is funded through the Dalrymple Foundation and gives hunters a chance to donate unwanted deer meat to benefit the food pantry’s supply. Hunters can go to three participating deer processors to make donations: Kennedy Processing on Highway 6 in Bigbee, Mobley Processing on Darracott Road in Aberdeen or Bucci Processing on Sartor Road in Greenwood Springs.
Hunters can either bring the deer field dressed or make a $10 tax-deductible donation so the processors can grind and wrap the meat for the Amory Food Pantry.
“We really wouldn’t have made it through the winter months this year had it not been for everyone who donated deer meat,” Holden said.
Each month, the Amory Food Pantry distributes 11 tons of food. According to the Huffington Post, one in four children in the United States live in poverty with Mississippi having the highest percentage.
“With the lack of jobs and the dwindling economy, the face of hunger has changed. We’re seeing new people we’ve never seen before who don’t want to, but have no other choice but to walk through the threshold of the food pantry,” Holden said.
Martha Dalrymple and James Cummins had the idea for Hunt for Hunger and local hunters have continued to support it each year. The Amory Food Pantry had a similar program in the summer, which allowed people to donate extra fruit and vegetables.