CONCORD, N.H. — It’s hunting season, and a program at the New Hampshire Food Bank allows hunters to share food with people who don’t have enough to eat.
It’s called “Hunt for the Hungry,” and last year more than 2,000 pounds of meat was donated to the program.
The program accepts processed deer and moose meat, but cannot accept bear meat, fowl, or wild game birds, including duck, goose, turkey, or grouse, according to New Hampshire Fish and Game.
If you find yourself in the position of wanting to donate an *entire* deer or moose, it must be processed first and stamped by a USDA approved butcher.
Donations are distributed to the Food Bank’s network of more than 400 food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and group homes statewide.
The Food Bank has expanded mobile markets in the wake of the pandemic to meet increased need, according to Executive Director Eileen Liponis. But Dennis Gichana, director of operations, said overall protein donations this year are down 10 percent compared to last year, so donations from hunters are even more critical now.
Directors of other food pantries around the state said that donations were down this year, as groceries have gotten more expensive with inflation. That comes as demand is rising.
Inflation and the end of pandemic-era aid programs have led to an increase in food insecurity, according to hunger experts in the state.
The US Census Pulse Survey tracks hunger in New Hampshire. The latest available data found that as of Oct. 2, 519,658 households had insufficient food, the second highest in 2023 surveys to date and only the second time this year that number has been higher than 500,000.
Food insufficiency includes households where there is not enough to eat and also people who can’t get the kinds of food they want or need. It’s a broader category than food insecurity, which describes people who sometimes or often don’t get enough to eat.
“We are counting on continued support from hunters who have been very generous in the past,” Gichana said in a statement.
Scott Mason, executive director of New Hampshire Fish and Game, said the program is a great way for hunters to help needy families get through the winter.
“Wild game is a local renewable resource that is high in protein, low in fat, and all natural — not to mention delicious,” he said in a statement.
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