Deer meat will be a valuable asset for food insecure families

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Charlotte County – Energy and Resource Development is working with the Town of Saint Andrews and the Charlotte County Food Bank to provide families in need with deer meat that will be donated by hunters. The cost of processing the meat will be covered by the Town of Saint Andrews, and it will be processed by Rob Mills of Mayfield. This is a new program that is not so new to other areas, including the US and Nova Scotia.

Donna Linton, Coordinator at the Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County, Inc. said this is going to be a great help for several area food insecure families, said she’s been aware of this type of program for several years. Linton said she was introduced to a venison feeding program, and she found out it is offered in the United States.

“Sportsman who love the sport of hunting but don’t really need, want, or have the ability to take home their harvest, can donate it to the local butcher who is set-up with agencies such as food banks. Nova Scotia has been doing a venison feeding program for a number of years too. There was a small effort in New Brunswick at one time, when we had a deer biologist, Rod Cumberland. He orchestrated a program where it did go to some soup kitchens. It was a short-lived program,” said Linton.

About four years ago, Linton received a phone call from Saint Andrews Deputy Mayor Brad Henderson, who is an avid hunter, but didn’t want to bring the meat home with him. At the time, Linton said she was unable to take the meat to distribute to food insecure families due to the penalties that would be involved. Then, he asked if she would be able to find a family who could use the meat, but again, she was unable to due to those same penalties.

“After the last few years, he’s been working with ministers in the government to address the issue in Saint Andrews, as well as his passion to feed other families,” said Linton. “Last week, when he called me for a meeting, I was really surprised to hear that the venison program is going forward. I had to come up with some families in Charlotte County who would be willing to accept the meat. He asked if I would deliver the meat to the families with the permit, and I said absolutely. We’re excited.”

One of the things that Linton really loves about this program is the nutritional value of the meat that will be donated. She said this is meat that is not raised at farms, so it is free of pesticides, not tenderized, etc. The animals have not been given any antibiotics in their feed, and the meat is purely organic and healthy.

“There’s no chemically produced meat. It’s very organic and healthy,” said Linton.

Linton is quite excited about this program. Not only will hunters be able to donate meat, meat can also come from animals that are put down because they are a nuisance in town limits. She said she is working on contacting families throughout Charlotte County who may be in need of meat for the winter, adding that receiving 25 to 30 pounds of meat at the beginning of the winter is going to be a huge help for many families.

Anyone who has questions about the venison feeding program, or who would like to learn more about how to get on the list to receive the meat, can contact Linton at the Volunteer Centre.

“This is the first year,” said Linton. “It’s something that’s going to go on year after year, so we could have families on a waiting list. They can call me at 466-4995, or on my cell at 466-8528.”

Hunters who choose to donate their meat will be given a registration permit for “0” pounds of meat, which will allow you to transport the carcass to be butchered. Meat can be taken to Mills at 153 Route 735, Mayfield. The number to call is 466-2046.

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca