Though the actual poundage figures aren’t available, Barbara Rountree of the food bank, said the hanging weight of the 33 donated animals totaled 4,749 pounds. There were eight goats, four lambs, four commercial feeders and 17 hogs donated to the food bank by various buyers.
Rountree said this was the second year buyers at the Meigs County Fair participated in the program. Last year there were eight animals donated which equated into 716 pounds of processed meat - numbers which quadrupled during this year’s sale.
The meat, once processed, goes back to the food bank in Logan for storage, waiting on food pantries in Meigs County to request the meat. Those food pantries in Meigs County which are eligible to distribute the meat are Hillside Baptist Church, Bethel Worship Center, Rutland Care Closet, Meigs County Cooperative Parish, Wellsprings Pantry, Silver Run Food Pantry, Meigs County Council on Aging, Faith Chapel Food Pantry, Calvary Pilgrim Pantry, Gathering Food Pantry, Golden Harvest Food Pantry.
Bill Nease, president of Home National Bank, said this was the first year the bank participated in the program and he plans on keeping the tradition going. He explained HNB decided to donate the animals to the food bank because the meat would go directly to families in need living in Meigs County.
Red meat has become a rareity at most pantries and Rountree said the donations were a welcome addition to the food bank which normally sees around 100,000 pounds of food donated each year. However, with the economic downturn, she guessed the food bank would see around 70,000 pounds donated this year despite a growing need. Last year, the food bank fed 1,281 Meigs County families per month which equated into 492,765 pounds of food distributed in one year in Meigs County alone. Last year, the food bank served a total of 186,492 individuals in its 10-county area. Second Harvest Foodbank of Southeastern Ohio falls under the jurisdiction of the Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action Agency. The fair livestock program started in 2006 at the Athens County Fair.
“The food pantry is very appreciative for the donated food, it means a lot when times are so hard,” Rountree said. “I wish every county fair was as receptive to the program as Meigs County. It was the best fair I’ve been to this year. It was awesome.”
For those interested in the program or a similar program where hunters can donate harvested deer, call Rountree at 385-6813 or go do www.hapcap.org or www.fhfh.org.