Amarillo, TX - The High Plains Food Bank is in critical need of food donations and it's calling on more area hunters to help.
Every year, the food bank participates in the state-wide "Hunters for the Hungry" program. Hunters can donate their deer to participating meat processors who then package the meat into ground venison for the food bank. Lately, fewer hunters are donating.
This deer hunting season, the food bank hopes hunters will think of them and the nearly 9,000 families they serve each month. "Here we are at the beginning of the deer hunting season, so it's a great opportunity for you if you're not planning on doing anything with the meat to then take it to a processor and get it processed so we can help feed people throughout the Panhandle," said Zack Wilson, the executive director of the High Plains Food Bank.
Clint and Sons in White Deer and Big Four Packing in Perryton are the two meat processors that partner with the food bank for the deer donation program. One thing hindering the program is the deer processing fee, around $40, which the hunter still has to pay.
Venison donations are down 1,300 pounds compared to 2013, but the food bank is optimistic area hunters can buck the declining trend. "What a great opportunity to grab a high protein item that we're always in need of such as meat and put it to good use," said Wilson. "We service 29 counties and one of the biggest demands we receive of all of our food inventory is meat."
Meat donations are not the only concern for the food bank. Donations in general are on the decline. Shelves that are normally fully stocked have been empty since March. The High Plains Food Bank is hoping next week's Together We Can Food Drive can help fill those shelves. NewsChannel 10 and the food bank will be outside Market Street United on Georgia St. all next week collecting food donations and money.
"This year has really been a hard year for us," said Wilson. "With donations dropping, it erodes the amount of food that we're able to get in here and more importantly get out the door."
Donations are at a low point and December marks the month with their highest demand.