Deer donations help families in need this holiday season

DANE COUNTY, Wis. (WMTV)-- A local venison processor is gearing up to send more donations to a food bank, as a new hunting season approaches.

Venison from a local deer donation processor is now at the Second Harvest Foodbank.

Alex Lease is the owner of Outdoor Addiction in Blue Mounds, one of three deer donation processors in Dane County. (The full list of processor locations in Wisconsin can be found here .)

Once Lease receives donations, he prepares the meat for pickup by Second Harvest Foodbank. Lease said he already made two shipments. His latest shipment was on Thursday and weighed 1,100 pounds.

Lease said one deer provides, on average, 40 pounds of meat. According to Danielle Lawson, the food resource manager at Second Harvest, one deer amounts to about 33 meals.

“To be able to provide food for (families) makes all the difference in the world,” Lawson said.

She said local pantries search the inventory at the Second Harvest warehouse and make requests. Families go through pantries to get meats and other food items for free.

According to Lawson, overall meat donations at the warehouse are roughly 20 percent down, compared to this time last year.

Lease said he expects to receive 50 to 100 deer donations in the coming week.

“I know it goes to help people who need it, so that's what it's all about in the end,” Lease said.

Gun deer season begins Saturday.