BLOOMFIELD — UDWI REMC Community Fund recently awarded Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry a grant to be used to serve residents in their service area, including the counties of Clay, Daviess, Greene, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Owen, Vigo, Putnam and Sullivan. These funds will help Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry pay processing fees for large game and livestock donations within these counties.
Founded in 2011, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry asks area hunters and farmers to take their large game or livestock to a participating meat processor where the donation is processed, packaged and frozen (at no cost to the donor). Local hunger-relief agencies are contacted for pick up and distribution of this nutritious protein back into the community. Many hardworking Hoosiers are still living paycheck to paycheck, regularly having to choose between paying bills or buying food. The latest Feeding America Map the Meal Gap Report states that 31% of residents who are food insecure can’t qualify for assistance. Those affected by food insecurity are often at high-risk for obesity and diet-related diseases due to the lack of quality in the foods that they can afford.
“Protein, an important component of every cell in the body and one of the most important nutrients for brain and body development in children, is also the hardest commodity for food banks to obtain. Food insecurity can lead to loss of muscle mass and bone frailty, decreased immune system, babies with lower birth weights and with delayed development in the early stages of life, and lower academic performance among children as the lack of healthy food results in people receiving fewer nutrients.” said Debra Treesh, executive director of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.
More than 300,000 Indiana children have no idea where their next meal is coming from.
“The grant provided by the Community Fund will pay to process about 1,200 pounds of donated large game and livestock — providing almost 5,000 meals through area hunger-relief agencies to residents in need within our communities,” said Treesh. In the last eight years, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry has helped to distribute approximately 1.3 million pounds of meat to Indiana food banks, providing over 5.3 million meals to Hoosiers in need. “To date, we have 87 participating meat processors working throughout Indiana to aid us in our mission and to ensure residents in need are served,” shared Amber Zecca, fund development director of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. “Over the last year, this program has given 16,700 pounds of meat within the REMC 11-county service area — providing almost 67,000 meals!”
On average, the cost of this donated meat is about $1.30 per pound, which is less than $.30 per meal.