Missouri hunters donated nearly 350,000 pounds of venison to food banks this season
America's economy may be doing well, but that doesn't mean hunger still isn't a major issue. In the state of Missouri, one in seven adults and one in six children are struggling with hunger.
That's 865,400 people.
Over the past decade, the number of people in Missouri experiencing hunger has more than doubled, the largest increase in the entire country. This hasn't been helped by a 2016 law that prohibited most able-bodied adults without dependents from receiving food stamps.
This change in the law has put an extra burden on food banks.
"If the SNAP benefits aren't coming, then you start to rely on food pantries," Conner Kerrigan with Empower Missouri said according to KRCG TV. "Well, if you're like in a rural area, it's probably hard to travel to a food pantry and you have to put gas in the tank in order to do that."
The problem is that the amount of food donated to the food banks hasn't increased by much since the law passed.
One group that's doing its best to help feed Missouri's hungry are hunters.
Missouri deer hunters donated nearly 350,000 pounds of venison to pantries and food banks this hunting season, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) said in a news release.
While shooting animals seems like a pretty lame way to have a good time, at least the deer meat is going to help the most vulnerable.
The hunters donated the meat to Missouri's Share the Harvest program which provides "lean, healthy" venison to help feed hungry Missourians. According to Good Housekeeping, venison has a third of the amount of fat found in beef, and less calories than chicken.
"Venison is richer in protein than any other red meat, which means that it satiates the appetite really well, keeping you fuller for longer," nutritionist Naomi Mead says.
"Hunters started Share the Harvest because they saw a need in their communities and hunters remain the driving force behind this popular program that helps feed our fellow Missourians who are in need," MDC director Sara Parker Pauley said in a statement.
"We sincerely thank the thousands of deer hunters who support Share the Harvest, along with the many participating meat processors and sponsors who help make it possible," Pauley continued.
Over 100 meat processors throughout the state packaged and ground the donated meat for free before it was handed over to the food pantries.
"We greatly appreciate the hunters, processors, and sponsors for their support of Share the Harvest," CFM executive director Tyler Schwartze said in the news release. "The donated venison stays in the local areas where the deer were harvested so it truly is helping out neighbors in need."
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