Kosciusko County Community Foundation recently awarded Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry $5,000 from the Carl N. Wendel Fund and $5,000 from the Kosciusko REMC Operation RoundUp Fund, component funds of the Foundation.

These funds will be used to serve Kosciusko County residents.

Some think that hunger only affects the homeless or unemployed. This is definitely not the case, according to a news release from Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.

According to Feeding America’s Map the Meal Gap, a third of Indiana residents that work and who are still food insecure don’t qualify for food-assistance programs. These residents have to turn to charitable food assistance networks such as food banks, pantries, hunger ministries, etc.

And the hardest commodity for food banks to obtain? Protein, an important component of every cell in the body and one of the most important nutrients for brain and body development in children, is also the hardest commodity for food banks to obtain. Those affected by food insecurity are often at high-risk for obesity and diet-related diseases due to the lack of quality in the foods that they can afford, the release states.

Founded in 2011, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry asks area hunters and farmers to take their large game or livestock to a participating meat processor where the donation is processed, packaged and frozen (at no cost to the donor). Local hunger-relief agencies are contacted for pick up and distribution of this nutritious protein back into the community.

“Our goal is to provide this protein-packed meat to hunger-relief agencies within Indiana to assist those in need of additional food services. Getting groceries at local food banks and pantries guarantees healthy meals for families when they need extra help. This program works to ensure that these agencies have meat, allowing them to provide fresh nutritious protein for hungry local families. This effort will help build stronger, healthier communities by meeting a basic need – reducing food insecurity and empowering people by getting them back on track to hunger-free, independent living,” said Debra Treesh, executive director of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry.

 “The $10,000 in grants provided by the Carl N. Wendel Fund and the Kosciusko REMC Operation RoundUp will pay to process about 8,200 pounds of donated large game and livestock – providing almost 33,000 more meals through area hunger-relief agencies to residents in need within their community,” said Treesh.

In the last eight years, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry has helped to distribute approximately 1.4 million pounds of meat to Indiana food banks, providing over 5.6 million meals to Hoosiers in need.

“To date, we have 87 participating meat processors working throughout Indiana to aid us in our mission and to ensure residents in need are served,” said Amber Zecca, fund development director of Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. “Processors who work hard for Kosciusko County and do all the processing at a reduced rate so that we are able to make grants like this go so much further include – Martin’s Custom Butchering, Slabaugh Meat Processing, and Integrity Meats. This nutritious protein is given to and distributed by Combined Community Services, Family Christian Development Center, Fellowship Mission, Serenity House, Syracuse Food Pantry and Teen Challenge.”

On average, the cost of this donated meat is about $1.22 per pound, which is 31 cents per meal.

Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry accepts donations and is continuously looking for volunteers to help in efforts to reduce hunger issues throughout Indiana. For more information on the Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry program, its services, to find participating meat processors in your area, or to find out how you can help, visit www.HoosiersFeedingtheHungry.org.