San Antonio Food Bank partners with hunters to collect deer meat for hungry families

Deer hunters can donate money to program when purchasing hunting license

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Food Bank is once again participating in the Hunters for the Hungry program, which is managed by Feeding Texas, to help those in need.

Through the program, hunters can drop off legally tagged deer to a participating meat processor, and eventually, the meat makes its way to the San Antonio Food Bank.

“We have dozens of processors that are independent organizations, for-profit companies, that we're paying $1.20 a pound to process the venison that hunters might drop off at their locations. But this year, we partnered with Trinity Oaks, where the San Antonio Food Bank has staff and volunteers that process venison,” said Eric Cooper, president and CEO of San Antonio Food Bank.

Cooper said, in the past, hunters would be asked to make a financial contribution when they were donating meat to the processor. This year, they are giving hunters an option to donate when they purchase their license.

“Now that money will come through Texas Parks and Wildlife to the San Antonio and New Braunfels food banks. We’ll use that to pay the processors where the hunters will go to drop off their deer,” Cooper said.

The food bank’s goal is to collect 200,000 pounds of venison.

More than 10 million servings of venison have been provided to Texans in need through the Hunters for the Hungry program.

“I think we as Texas landowners, and just stewards over natural resources, we have that opportunity to do what’s right, to be respectful ... be humble and grateful because this is the life of a deer that is being harvested to help nourish another life,” Cooper said.

San Antonio resident Travis Wuest grew up hunting and has been participating in the program for many years.

“From time to time, we need to take deer off the property or off ranches. We were hunting because of needing to keep the populations in balance, and so it just seemed like a great fit to be able to take a deer ... off the property and then donate to someone who really needed the meat,” Wuest said.

Cooper said the food bank wants to eventually process the meat at its facility when its culinary center opens in 2021.

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