FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry is aiming to give all Hoosiers a basic human right, access to nutritious food. 

According to Feeding America, one in eight resident in Indiana struggles with hunger, that’s 883,260 people. Over 274,00 of them are children.  

As deer season begins in Indiana, the nonprofit is calling for hunters to help put an end to this epidemic. The organization is calling on donations for its Hoosier’s Feeding the Hungry’s “Meat” the Need initiative – a program where hunters donate deer and other types of meat. 

Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry executive director Debra Treesh, told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that the average deer can give about 200 meals. 

“It’s one of the most important and most expensive nutrients for families to get, and it’s the hardest commodity for food banks to get,” Treesh said.  

Ten years ago, Treesh started Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry with 250 pounds of meat, and a partnership with one meat processor. At the time, she didn’t realize how much food banks in Indiana needed protein.  

“Protein is just [an] expensive part of everyone’s diet, we get a fair amount of chips donated, we get bread donated, we get canned goods when we have our food drive, we get a lot of produce from the retailers, but the one thing we don’t get a lot of is protein,” said John Wolf, CEO of Community Harvest. “For deer we get about 50 pounds of food and it cost about 50 to 80 dollars to process that deer.” 

Donors will not have to worry about the cost of processing, because Hoosier’s Feeding the Hungry partners with 85 processing plants across the state to cover the expense.

Hunters donate to participating meat processors, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry pays for the processing, and then the meat is donated to hunger relief programs, such as Community Harvest Food Bank and the Rescue Mission.  

Hunters are allowed to select a specific organization or region to donate their meat, and they don’t have to donate the entire deer. Treesh said a couple of pounds helps out a great deal.  

If you are not a hunter and would like to donate cash, click here.