A story we first brought you tuesday has gotten a lot of response online and on Facebook. In late January, a state health inspector found hundreds of pounds of donated deer meat at a homeless shelter and said that it had to go. Now people in our area are speaking out, saying the state is wrong. The Department of Health and Hospitals says the meat was obtained from an unapproved source. But the program where the meat came from -- Hunters for the Hungry -- is promoted on the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries web site. While the two state agencies work this out... a local homeless shelter is paying the price.
Gary McCoy with KISS 97 FM Radio said, "When i originally saw your story on the news... It went through me. I was like, I know I misunderstood that. They didn't really do that." But it was true... And KTBS viewers along with KISS 97 listeners were outraged. Julie K is Gary's co-host. She said their listeners were mad, "All of our listeners, they're all hunters, they all like to donate to the mission. Like Gary said the whole idea of wasting and throwing away $8,000 worth of food, is ridiculous and something has to be done."
On January 28th the State Health Department received a call about a complaint of deer meat being served at the Rescue Mission. After an inspection, a state employee concluded the venison had to be destroyed and doused it with bleach. But after the outcry of support for both the Hunters for the Hungry program and the Rescue Mission... The state took a closer look at the law. Dr. Jimmy Guidry is the State Health Officer. He said, it allows for the hunters to donate their food to these types of causes, it also allows slaughterhouses to process the food, but it does not say that the health department allows for it to be served to the public. We don't go around doing this to me mean or cruel. We do this to make sure people don't get sick. Some food borne illnesses can take your life." And Hunters for the Hungry says other state agencies are getting involved. Richard Campbell is one of the founders of the program. "They all are going to get together and establish some rules so this wont happen again. So there was a bad thing there, but some good is going to come out of it." Reverend Henry Martin is the Executive Director for Shreveport-Bossier's Rescue Mission. Rev. Martin said, "We saw a great tragedy when that meat was destroyed, and we lost alot of money trying to replace that meat. But you know, god works in mysterious ways. He allowed it to happen to us because there are food banks all over this state that are participating in this hunters for the hungry program."
Since the story ran on Tuesday-many of you reached out to us here at KTBS, the Rescue Mission and to government officials. Because of that support-officials in the state say they are looking into a solution so that donated meat can be enjoyed by people who are simply looking for a good meal. We'll continue to follow this story as it develops.
KISS 97 radio hosts Gary and Julie are planning to organize a fundraiser to reimburse the mission for the $8,000 they had to spend to replace the lost meat.