WEST LIBERTY, Iowa–Following a year when the Salvation Army of Muscatine County saw an increase in the number of individuals and families in need of food because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry and West Liberty Locker and Processing have made their largest ever donation to the organization. This year, they donated 3,168 pounds of ground deer meat to the Salvation Army and First Church United in West Liberty, processed from a whopping 70 deer donated by local hunters.
For years, the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry Cornbelt Chapter has made donations to the Salvation Army of Muscatine County and First Church United in West Liberty. Since opening their doors 14 years ago, West Liberty Locker has helped with this donation by taking in donated deer and processing them into usable meat. West Liberty Locker co-owner Suzette Vance explained, “we process the deer and grind it and put it in two pound bags, and that’s how we donate it to the Salvation Army.” West Liberty Locker also stores the processed deer meat until volunteers from the Salvation Army and First Church United can come and collect it.
Because of the huge amount of fresh meat the Salvation Army received this year, they had to make two visits to West Liberty Locker, on May 11 and 13, to pick all of it up. Workers from West Liberty Locker filled shopping carts to the brim with the containers of deer meat and rolled them to the Salvation Army’s van as they had far too many to move any other way.
Reflecting on this year’s donation, Vance felt glad that West Liberty Locker could once again join with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to assist the Salvation Army food pantry. “It’s a good feeling that the hunters are so generous and can feed so many people, especially with COVID-19,” said Vance. “It’s good to know so much meat is circulating in Muscatine County.” Often times, the Salvation Army will share its donation with other local food pantries, extending the reach of West Liberty Locker and Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry even farther.