Generosity comes in many forms.
Deer hunting season in Missouri offers an opportunity for sportsmen to share their bounty with needy Missourians.
The program, Share the Harvest, is a partnership among the Conservation Federation, the Missouri Department of Conservation, local food banks, meat processors and hunters.
Under the program, venison donated by hunters and processors is given to food banks for distribution to Missouri families in need.
During the 2010 hunting season, about 6,100 deer were processed through Share the Harvest, resulting in more than 350,000 pounds of venison for needy families.
The number marks a significant increase over the 4,600 deer donated to the program in 2009 and the 4,200 in 2008.
Clearly, participation in the program is growing as awareness increases.
To that end, Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday encouraged support for the program.
"Food banks and food pantries across Missouri have seen their resources dwindle as the need for their services has increased," the governor said.
In addition to promoting Share the Harvest, Nixon announced $1 million in funding to feed needy families throughout the state.
A grant from the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, administered by the state, will go to the Missouri Food Bank Association. Among the association's members is the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri, which distributes provisions to area pantries.
The food banks are directed to invest more than $150,000 of the total $1 million to support continued growth of the Share the Harvest program.
We join in supporting and encouraging participation in Share the Harvest.
A hallmark of sportsmanship is respect and fair play.
Share the Harvest exemplifies those virtues in abundance.
Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.