Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County awards $7,500 to Access Food Feed the Hungry Project

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PIKE COUNTY, Ill. — The Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County recently announced a $7,500 grant award to the Access Food Feed the Hungry Project as part of its FY23 Healthy Community Grant competitive grant program.

Grant funds will be used to process the anticipated 350 deer harvested by Pike County hunters this year. HWFPC grant funds are used to offset the processing fees for approximately 19,500 pounds of deer meat processed and subsequently distributed to food pantries across the county.

In a press release, Foundation executive director Patricia McIntosh stated, “The Health and Wellness Foundation is again supporting this outstanding program as it has for many ongoing years. This is a proven program that encourages non-resident hunters to shoot and donate a doe by providing a mechanism by which to process it at no cost to the hunter, which is then distributed to the local food pantries.

“Because almost 12 percent of Pike County families are food insecure, they consistently rely on the venison from this program to supplement the protein in their daily diet. We know the number of families utilizing our local food pantries expanded last year, making this program even more essential. Not only is the Access Food program the most effective program for controlling the deer population and impacting families in need through hunters’ donations of deer, but it also empowers the numerous participating Pike County organizations to actively help tackle food insecurity in Pike County.”

Food insecurity refers to USDA’s measure of lack of access at times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all members of the household – as well as limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate foods such as protein. Food insecurity increases the risk of health problems for children and adults and contributes to short and long-term stress for children and families.

Brenda Middendorf, executive director of Pike County Two Rivers RC&D, said, “The Access Food Feed the Hungry Program operating through Two Rivers RC&D is grateful for the Health and Wellness Foundation’s generous support to our deer donation program. The Health and Wellness Foundation’s contribution plays a crucial role in our mission to provide protein to families in need by utilizing deer that are donated. With the foundation’s support, we can continue to provide nutritious venison to those in need within our community. Their commitment to making a positive impact has significantly enhanced the success and reach of our program.”

The organizations supporting the deer donation program this year are:

  • the IDNR officers who refer hunters to the participating meat locker
  • Hilltop Custom Meats who process and package the donated deer
  • the Barry Food Pantry
  • Two Rivers Reach Out Food Pantry
  • the Crossing Food Pantry, which assists in the pickup and distribution of processed deer meat for Pike County residents
  • Pike County U of I Extension, which provides nutritional information and recipes at the food pantries to assist those who are picking up the venison

HWFPC annually selects projects that most effectively demonstrate the ability to impact Pike County’s most pressing physical, emotional and social health needs. Foundation funding decisions for the Healthy Community Grants are made in the fall of each year by its board of directors, which is made up of:

  • Judge Michael Roseberry, chairman;
  • J. Michael Kinscherff, vice chairman;
  • Darla Lemons, secretary/treasurer;
  • Michelle Westbrook
  • Andrea Allen
  • Pike County Deputy Zachary Orr.

The Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County is recognized as a 501(c)(3) public charity, solely serving Pike County, Illinois. Donations to HWFPC are fully tax-deductible as allowable by law. To find out more information about HWFPC’s other grant programs, health scholarships, community collaborations, or how to make a donation, visit the foundation’s website at www.hwfpc.org or call the foundation office at 217-285-6080.

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