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Michigan’s hunters know firsthand the pride and satisfaction of bringing home a nutritious meal of wild game to the family supper table. Imagine trying to feed your family without the available means.

That struggle – with its stress, disappointment and anxiety – becomes particularly tough on families during the holiday season each year, with increased demands on a household budget.

Nearly 1.5 million Michigan residents – 15 percent of our population and 18 percent of our children – live with the stress of not knowing when they will eat again.

Hunters can help make a positive impact on this problem by donating venison to Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger. Since 1991, this group has helped connect donors, wild game processors and charities that feed people in need.

Over the past quarter century, food banks, pantries and shelters have provided more than 3 million venison meals to struggling families. Hunter donations of venison add up to over 20,000 pounds each year, providing more than 100,000 meals.

Hunters can donate a whole deer, or a portion, by visiting a participating game processor. A list is available on the Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger hotline at 1-586-552-6517 or by visiting www.sportsmenagainsthunger.org.

Game processors are reimbursed by the pound for the meat they process.

Monetary donations can be made to Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger when purchasing a hunting or fishing license or by making a Help Feed the Hungry donation at www.michigan.gov/estore.

These funds help cover costs of processing, packaging and transporting donated venison.

This year, with the generosity of hunters and others, 32 different community agencies have received a total of over 20,000 pounds of ground venison. This significant donation is from just 16 processors working with the organization.

The Food Bank Council of Michigan is an important partner of Sportsmen Against Hunger, working to distribute donated venison across the state.

This annual initiative aligns with the FBCM’s mission to create a food-secure Michigan, where each person has access to proper nutrition acquired by dignified means.

The FBCM looks forward to working with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and other sponsors to grow the Sportsmen Against Hunger program, so more people can access wholesome food.

This firearm deer season, we urge hunters to consider donating to Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger. It’s a gratifying way to help friends and neighbors by providing healthy venison meals to families who need food.

Keith Creagh is director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Dr. Phillip Knight is executive director of the Food Bank Council of Michigan.

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