With the 2015 hunting season underway, Governor Paul R. LePage is urging Maine hunters to consider supporting the Hunters for the Hungry Program by donating all or part of their harvest to feed families in need. The program provides a means for Maine hunters, as well as hunters from other states, to donate harvested game to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and households with a medical need.

“The Hunters for the Hungry Program is a way that Maine hunters can pursue a sport they love and help their neighbors at the same time,” said Governor LePage. “Donations can provide meat to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and households across the state. The fact that this program has grown so steadily is both a testament to the need and the generosity of Mainers.”

Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb noted that since its establishment in 1996, the Hunters for the Hungry Program has provided thousands of nutritious meals to people across the state.

“Since 1996, Maine sportsmen and women have contributed to a program that provides nutritious meals to people across Maine,” said Whitcomb. “The Hunters for the Hungry Program puts high quality, native protein on the tables of Maine families.”

The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry distributes many types of donations to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and households with a medical need. The Hunters for the Hungry Program is part of the Department’s Emergency Food Assistance Program. It is done in cooperation with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s wardens, Maine State Troopers and hunters, are all working towards a common goal of helping fellow Mainers.

The program accepts bear, deer and moose donations. Road kill donations are also accepted, provided the meat is not damaged. Hunters do not pay for the processing of donated meat. Meat processing costs are paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry or the charity that receives the food. Hunters choosing to keep their game can still donate a few pounds to the program.