WARSAW — The Kosciusko REMC Operation RoundUp Fund recently awarded Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry a grant to be used to serve Kosciusko County residents.
These funds will help Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry pay processing fees for large game and livestock donations within Kosciusko County. The processed meat will then be given to area hunger relief agencies.
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. Plus, farmers may write off the fair market value on their taxes. Local hunger relief agencies will be contacted for pick up and distribution of this nutritious protein back into the community.
“We are very excited about our ‘Meat’ the Need program,” said Debra Treesh, executive director of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. “We’re pleased that this REMC is continually willing to make an investment in the community.”
Lack of food does not only affect the homeless or unemployed. The economy may be showing signs of improvement but many hardworking Hoosiers are still living paycheck to paycheck, regularly having to choose between paying bills, obtaining medicine or buying groceries. In these homes, an unexpected bill of any sort, like a major car repair or medical bill, can throw an already tight budget into a downward spiral. According to Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap,” 31 percent of working Indiana residents who are food insecure do not qualify for food assistance programs. These residents have to turn to charitable food assistance networks such as food banks, pantries or hunger ministries. The hardest commodity for food banks to obtain is protein, a nutrient that is part of every cell in the body and is vital to brain and body development.
“The grant provided by the Operation RoundUp Fund will pay to process about 3,700 pounds of donated large game and livestock, which will then be distributed to area hunger relief agencies — providing almost 15,000 meals 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 5.1 million meals to Hoosiers in need.
“To date, we have 88 participating meat processors working within 85 counties in Indiana to aid us in our mission and to ensure residents in need are served,” said Amber Zecca, fund development director of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. “For Kosciusko County, we partner with Bales Butcher Shop, Martin’s Custom Butchering, Integrity Meats, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, and other local hunger relief agencies to ensure residents have access to this nutritious protein.”