The Bridge Pantry, formerly known as The Perham Food Shelf, is again participating in the Hunter Harvested Deer Donation Program.

The program is a cooperative venture of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and regional food banks. Through this program, food pantries and food shelves in Minnesota can accept donation of hunter harvested venison.

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Hunters are not allowed to donate venison directly to a food pantry. The donations must be made through an approved processing plant. Locally, that is Al’s Butchers Blend, located at 43920 Fort Thunder Road in Perham. Both archery and firearm harvested venison will be accepted.

According to John Leikness, executive director of the Bridge Pantry in Perham, “All the hunter needs to do is field dress and tag the deer, bring it to Al’s Butchers Blend and fill out a simple form.”

There is no cost to the hunter, and Leikness added: “We received over 600 pounds of lean venison from last year’s harvest that was distributed to those in need.”