Local food pantries across the state are preparing to receive donations from the Hunters Against Hunger program. The program, a partnership between FWP and the Montana Food Bank Network, allows hunters to donate a portion or all of their legally harvested big game animals to be processed free of charge. The meat is then provided directly to a local food pantry in the area.
Since its inception in 2014, over 130,000 pounds of meat has been donated through the program and distributed to Montanans struggling with food insecurity through 29 local food pantry sites. Meat is extremely expensive for food pantries to provide, yet a highly nutritious resource for their clients.
“We have never in my time here had this much game. Truly a huge gift,” said Jill Holder, operations manager at Gallatin Valley Food Bank, about the impact of the program.
Participation by local meat processors and hunters are the keys to success for this growing program. Big game donations (deer, elk, antelope, moose and wild buffalo) can only be accepted as part of the program by authorized participating meat processors set up around the state. Only legally harvested or confiscated big game animals can be donated. No road kill can be donated. A full list of authorized processors can be found at the Montana Food Bank Network website at mfbn.org
To offset the cost of processing, hunters purchasing a Montana hunting license are given the opportunity to make a monetary donation to this program. Additional donations to the program are being accepted by the Montana Food Bank Network.