October 9, 2008

Rotary Grant Could Expand Share the Harvest Program

Entering its second decade the Scotland County Share the Harvest program is anticipating another successful year of putting meat on the table for local families.

Dating back to 1995, the Scotland County Rotary Club and the Rutledge Meat Locker have partnered with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Conservation Federation to fund the project that allows hunters to share their deer meat with families in need of assistance.

In 2007, approximately 80 deer were processed at the Rutledge locker. On average a deer produces 35 to 40 pounds of ground venison, meaning local hunters donated around 3,000 pounds of meat. With hamburger (the meat most often replaced by ground venison) selling for around $2.50 per pound, hunters have helped save local families $7,500 on their food bill.

The Rotary Club annually donates $1,000 to defray a portion of the processing costs. The Missouri Conservation Federation also pays a portion of the bill, but with the price for deer processing at $75 the locker ultimately donates approximately half the cost of the project.

Rotarian Ellen Aylward indicated the Scotland County club has applied for a Rotary Foundation matching grant that would generate another $1,000 for the organization’s national funds for the local charity event.

Members are hoping the added funds will allow the process to continue to grow.

“The food pantry runs out of the venison about halfway through the year, so we want to encourage more participation from the hunters,” said Aylward.

The distribution of the venison is managed by the Scotland County Food Pantry. Packages of deer meat are added to the monthly food allotments distributed at the facility on Highway 15 in Memphis.

Numbers have grown annually for the project. Back in 2000, just 36 deer were donated to the local Share the Harvest.

Already in 2008, two deer have entered the project, despite the abnormally warm weather that has hampered hunters thus far in the archery season that started September 15th.

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