Missouri Deer Hunters Donate Surplus Venison To Help Fill Food Pantries for the Holidays

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/Melissa Kopka)

Missouri hunters are helping families over the holidays working to provide their surplus venison to area food pantries throughout the Kansas City area. The deer hunters are sharing their harvest in a program that is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Hunters Harvest Tens of Thousands of Deer During The First Week Of Firearm Deer Hunting Season

Deer hunting season opened just recently in many areas all over the country. Now, multiple meat processing businesses are seeing their busy season hit as hunters bring their harvested deer in to turn them into viable meat. One of the owners of the Clinton, Missouri meat company, Powell Meat Company notes that things have been so busy, and they are “just trying to keep up.”

Reports note that as many as 93,000 deer were harvested by hunters all across the state of Missouri. And around 800 of these deer are being processed at the Powell Meat Company.

“They’re coming in left and right,” Powell says of the recently hunted animals. Additionally, Powell notes, with so much meat coming in, many deer hunters are coming up with a plan for their massive loads of venison. Donating it to those who will need the food the most. Even if the processing cost is higher than usual as inflation continues to shoot prices sky high.

Missouri Food Banks Are Seeing An Influx Of Venison Donations Thanks To Area Deer Hunters

Powell’s meat processing company is one of the largest in the state of Missouri to participate in this Share the Harvest program. A program that was developed and sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation. Last year alone, Powell’s and the company’s customers donated as much as 10,000 pounds of venison to the needy. A number they hope to surpass this winter.

“There’s a lot of folks out there that are generous,” Powell notes of the deer hunters giving the donations.

“Especially around these areas,” Powell adds.”I think more people want to give back.”

This desire to give back is good news for the Kansas City food banks. Especially since the officials working with many of these programs have only seen the need for donations such as these grow over the last few years.

“The pandemic obviously had a big impact on people,” notes Sarah Biles, who works for the Harvesters Community Food Network.

“Then inflation came right after,” she adds. “Any protein donations we can get are definitely needed and much appreciated.”