Access Food project receives $7,500 grant from Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County

deer-butcher

The Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County recently announced a $7,500 grant to the Access Food project as part of its Healthy Community Grant competitive grant program, which annually selected projects that most effectively demonstrate the ability to impact Pike County’s most pressing physical, emotional and social health needs.

Grant funds will be used to process an anticipated 350 deer this year, which constitutes approximately 19,250 pounds of meat donated to Pike County food pantries.

“The Health and Wellness Foundation applauds the Access Food project for its ability to leverage one of Pike County’s most valuable commodities — the local deer population — into a much-needed animal protein available through Pike County’s food pantries,” Foundation Executive Director Patricia McIntosh said. “We know that 11.9 percent of Pike County residents are determined as ‘food insecure’ and rely on the supply of venison from this program to supplement their family’s diet. This represents an increase over last year, making this program more important than ever.”

The Access Illinois Deer Program accepted donated deer from Oct. 1 to Jan. 15.

Food insecurity refers to the United States Department of Agriculture’s measure of lack of access at time to enough food for an active, healthy life for all members of the household — and limited or uncertain unavailability of nutritionally adequate foods such as protein. Households that are food insecure are not necessarily food insecure all the time but may need to make trade-offs between basic needs such as housing or medical care over the purchase of nutritionally adequate foods.

“Access Illinois Outdoors sincerely appreciates the support provided from the Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County with the recent grant award to help with processing donated deer,” said Brenda Middendorf, coordinator for the Access Food program. “These funds allow tons of processed venison to be delivered to food pantries in the county to provide nutritional protein options.

“Currently our food pantries are dealing with increased demand from families sidelined by the pandemic and now face a new challenge with rising food costs and problems with the supply chain. Support from the Health and Wellness Foundation is critical to the success of the Access Food — Feed the Hungry program.”

In 2020, through the Two Rivers and Crossing Food Pantries in Pittsfield, as well as the Barry Food Pantry, approximately 9,800 people were served and benefited from the Access Food program. The program is targeting to serve 2,700 people per month this year utilizing the Pike County food pantries.

HWPFC funding decisions for the Healthy Community grants are made each fall by its Board of Directors, which consists of Judge Michael Roseberry, chairman; J. Michael Kinscherff, vice chairman; Darla Lemons, secretary/treasurer; Michelle Westbrook, Andrea Allen and Zach Orr. To learn more about HWPFC’s other grant programs, scholarships and community collaborations, call the foundation office at 217-285-6080 or visit the website at www.hwfpc.org.

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