PORT AUX BASQUES – It’s easy to hear the happiness in Lt. Maurice Collins’ voice these days. As an officer with the Salvation Army, he is excited about the new provincial program that began on Monday, Nov 16 that allows hunters in Newfoundland and Labrador to now donate moose meat to their local food banks.
“We have been hoping for this. If people have extra moose meat and they wanted to give it to somebody, but didn’t have anyone to give it to, well here’s an opportunity now to help the needy in your community,” says Collins.
Contrary to popular belief, Newfoundland and Labrador food banks were always allowed to accept moose meat. But before it could be distributed it had to be cooked as per provincial government regulations.
“So now this allows us to give out moose meat to clients and they can cook it themselves,” shared Collins.
Donating moose meat has long been sought after by food banks, especially since protein donations being among the hardest to get. In September, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador accepted a proposal to allow donations to begin.
“We are hoping to get some donations soon,” says Collins. “There are a few criteria that have to be followed . I can’t accept a moose and package or ground it up myself.”
It is asked that all donations of the moose meat are properly packaged by a government approved butcher in one pound packages, and preferably frozen prior to delivery. Tag numbers and personal information will be given in order to ensure the hunter has a license for the meat he or she is donating.
Since October, the demand on the Port aux Basques food bank has continued to skyrocket. Normally it services around 60 to 70 families in the Southwest coast region, but that has almost doubled.
Says Collins, “It’s picking up dramatically.”
Anyone wishing to donate a portion of their moose to the local Salvation Army Food Bank can call (709) 695-5803 or visit the program’s official website for directions on how to prepare donations at http://www.sharingtheharvestnl.ca.