Did you know there’s a program that helps make sure interested hunters may share their bounty with those less fortunate? The Chester County Food Bank was grateful to receive 5,150 pounds of venison in 2015, thanks to Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) and generous local hunters.
HSH is a charitable program that connects hunters with butchers across Pennsylvania who are dedicated to getting venison, a healthful lean protein, to local food banks. This initiative, combined with local hunters’ fundraising and advocacy efforts, puts food on the tables of Pennsylvania’s less fortunate.
Art Lyle of Backyard Bucks has been a longtime supporter of the effort and our Food Bank. He says the group’s members are delighted they can help by simply doing something they love: hunting. For him, however, it goes deeper.
“The main reason I got involved was that I grew up in a family of six, and we didn’t always have food—or not much of it,” Art explained. “There were some times we would eat bread or rice, and other times we went to food banks. I always said if I could ever find a way to give back, I would. That extends to Backyard Bucks: We just believe it’s the right thing.”
Art offered these tips for other hunters’ groups that might be interested in helping the Chester County Food Bank:
- Ask all attending your fundraising event to bring three nonperishable food items. Those who do can get raffle tickets for a chance to win a crossbow, muzzleloader or other prize. This is a great way to collect a lot of nonperishables for the food bank.
- Encourage each hunter to make a difference by harvesting at least one extra deer and donating it.
- Help identify property owners willing to open their land to hunters. In particular, properties where nonprofits like Backyard Bucks can hunt free of charge are greatly needed.
Hunters and hunters’ clubs looking to get involved may reach out to the following HSH participating butchers:
- Countryside Butchering, 269 Long Ln., Honey Brook, PA 19344; 610-273-2629
- Fisher’s Butcher Shop, 48 Furnace Rd., Quarryville, PA 17566; 717-786-7398
- Foresta’s Market, 1098 W. Bridge St., Phoenixville, PA 19460; 610-935-1777
- Noble Road Butcher Shop, 1553 Noble Rd., Kirkwood, PA 17536; 717-529-9031
- Smokers Custom Butchering, 12 Old Leacock Rd., Ronks, PA 17572; 717-768-7046
Of course, the Chester County Food Bank is also grateful for gifts of nonperishables, grocery store gift cards and financial donations, too. We greatly appreciate our hunter friends who embrace the Hunters Sharing the Harvest program—as do our food cupboards and their clients.
The Chester County Food Bank collects, stores and distributes food to over 120 food cupboards, meal sites and social service organizations. Since our beginning in 2009, we have increased distribution over 119% by distributing 2.5 million pounds of food. The Food Bank partners with donors, volunteers, farmers, schools and businesses to address hunger and food insecurity with compassion and creativity.