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Hunters for the Hungry (Budget Cuts Affecting Food Pantries)

Hunters for the Hungry - production of ground venison

Hunters for the Hungry

Fred has been working with an agency called Hunters for the Hungry for five years. During that time, his food bank has received thousands of pounds of venison to feed the poor. This year, however, when Fred received no call from the agency saying it was ready to deliver the meat, he called the organization himself. 
 
The answering machine was full and Fred never got through. Finally, he called a state officer for the agency and to his dismay he found out what the problem was. 
 
Fred learned that the state’s governor, in an effort to balance the budget, had stripped $100,000 from the allotment to Hunters for the Hungry. In past years, that money had allowed donors of deer meat to have it processed free of charge. The meat would be put in one lb. rolls to be given to non-profit groups that operate food banks. 
 
Fred was told the state now requires hunters to pay for the processing costs as well as donate the meat. Many of the hunters are unwilling to pay for processing. The cost is not cheap. 
 
The staff at Hunters for the Hungry is upset with this new rule as are the food banks that won’t get the meat. As a result, food pantries and soup kitchens across the state have a big problem this year they can do nothing about. 
 
After all, as Fred says, if the goal of private enterprise is to make a profit, and it is, then the goal of government is to take care of people. And in many states, government does a good job of doing just that. 
 
Balancing the budget is important but cuts should not be made, Fred says, to programs that help those already down on their luck.
 
Fred and others would like to know how the money allegedly saved by the governor’s action is being used. Roads in the state are still crumbling, schools are making drastic cuts and those in need remain in need at a basic level—food.
 
Meanwhile, the staff at Hunters for the Hungry is trying to locate other meat for Fred’s food bank. They know the demand for food is exploding among those with inadequate income. 
 
The missing deer meat means charities all over the state must spend more for food. This money would normally be spent to help pay for utilities, medicine and other necessities for the needy.
 
Something’s not right with this cut in the budget, Fred says. What’s worse, he adds, the next election is a long way off. 
 
 
Author: Donal Mahoney

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