Local group holds contest for food bank donations

Share the Harvest NL provides incentive for fellow hunters to share wild game with those in need.

It hasn’t always been legal for hunters to donate big game meats to food banks. Now, organizations like the Community Food Sharing Association are welcoming moose meat donations. Josh Hodder/Kicker

Josh Hodder

A local hunting group has an idea to put more food on the table for those in need.

The Newfoundland Outdoor Heritage Coalition has started a contest within their food donation group, Share the Harvest NL, to encourage donations of big-game meat to their local food bank.

Barry Fordham, a co-founding director for Share the Harvest NL and the Newfoundland Outdoor Heritage Coalition, has a special surprise in store for the lucky winner of the contest.

“Anyone who registers and donates game meat through Share the Harvest NL, for every five pounds you donate we will write your name on a ticket,” said Fordham. “Come January, after the donations close, we will draw a ticket and the name on the ticket will win a his or hers camouflage suit. The suit is valued at over $1,000.”

Rennie Hynes is a father of two from Conception Bay South. Being included in hunting trips for most of his life, Hynes and his oldest son applied for their hunting licenses this year.

Hynes is supportive of the contest held by Share the Harvest NL and thinks it sends a good message to hunters.

“I like the idea behind it,” Hynes said. “It gives the hunter something to donate back and sharing some of the harvest.”

Donations of big game meat to food banks was not always possible because of provincial law.

“I could give the moose meat to the food banks, but they were not allowed to distribute it because it was going to change hands more than two times,” said Fordham of the now defunct law.

“If you don’t want to donate to the food banks, please consider a senior citizen in your life.”

Back in November 2020, the provincial government changed the laws to allow big-game donations to food banks. Fordham and his associates played a big part in pushing for this change.

“We (Newfoundland Outdoor Heritage Coalition) were the ones lobbying with the government all along to make the legalization for donations to the food banks,” Fordham said. “Once we got the agreement from the government, then we enacted the group Sharing the Harvest NL to look after the moose meat donations.”

Although Fordham has made this dream a reality, there are still rules and regulations that the hunters must follow when donating.

“Only hunters licensed this year can donate big game meat, and the meat has to be processed, cut and packaged at a government approved butcher,” said Fordham. “If you don’t want to donate to the food banks, please consider a senior citizen in your life. In this case (because it doesn’t change hands more than once), the meat does not need to be processed by a government approved butcher.”

With the lifting of the previous regulations, people such as Hynes are excited for the message it will send to the younger generation of future big-game hunters.

“If you harvest something, we still leave lots left for mother nature and others,” said Hynes. “That’s how I was raised. When my son wanted to do this, I told him we would do it together and we would do it right.”

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