This deer hunting season, many local hunters are helping put food on the tables of hungry Heartland families. The Share the Harvest program is right on target with helping those in need.
"I brought in two deer today from the state of Illinois," Hunter Eric Schoenberg said. "I'm donating one whole deer to the Share the Harvest Program."
Schoenberg says the program helps him do more of what he loves, while helping others.
"It's a good way to provide for yourself and others," Schoenberg said. "I enjoy the outdoors and always have."
The owner at Reis Meat Processing says his business has participated in the program for about ten years.
"It's good ground meat," Revis Reisenbichler said. "It's good protein. That's what most of the homeless people, or the people who are having problems, need. They need the protein. All the food pantries that I've talked with tell me protein is the hardest thing for them to get a hold of."
Reisenbichler says, so far, his business has processed about 1,000 pounds of donated meat and they still have a lot more to go.
Reisenbichler says the donated meat stays local. He says hunters bring it in, they process it, and then send it to local food pantries right here in Cape Girardeau County.
Last year, hunters donated more than 318,000 pounds of venison statewide. In southeast Missouri, more than 11,000 pounds was donated. Reisenbichler says that really shows the heart of the Heartland.
"Our hunters, I mean, they're the best people out there," Reisenbichler said. "They are going to take care of people that are in need and if they've got the money to go hunting, they're going to donate and help out people."
"We take care of our families personally, then if we can give to the community, and surrounding communities, then this is going to help them and I feel good about it and I know other people feel really good about this," Schoenberg said.