Story by Lindsey Coleman, Staff writer
Pat Scott, firefighter and Murray City Council member, started the Needy Meat Program, which is a support program to aid Need Line and Soup for the Soul in their fight to feed the hungry in Calloway County.
Scott said he recognized that the local food bank and soup kitchen needed assistance.
“You don’t think about it in this area, but there are children that don’t get to eat anything except what they get at school, and I’m concerned for them,” Scott said.
Through the existing Hunters for the Hungry statewide program, each of the eight counties in the Purchase region received 375 lbs of meat last year, and Scott said that’s not enough to support the need in Calloway County.
To remedy that problem, Scott said the solution is to start a local program in which hunters drop off their meat, the Needy Meat Program pays for processing and then the meat goes to Need Line and Soup for the Soul.
“I believe we need to use the resources we have at hand to take care of the hunger problem,” Scott said. “We’ve got an overpopulation of deer, and we’ve got too many people who are hungry. We put the two problems together. It won’t completely cure everything, but it will definitely help.”
Anyone can drop off a field dressed deer to Hart Farms Meat Processing in Almo, Kentucky, and monetary donations for processing can be donated to Need Line or Soup for the Soul for a tax exemption.
For contributors who don’t want to have a tax exemption, donations can be made to the Needy Meat Program account at the Murray Bank. One hundred percent of the donations will go towards deer meat processing, which costs $40 per deer.
Scott said the Needy Meat Program is incorporated, and it is in the process of becoming a tax-exempt nonprofit.
He said the board of directors is made up of deer hunters from many professions who want to help the public. Scott said he has worked as a public servant since 1972, at the Murray Fire Department for 31 years, and on the Murray City Council since 2005.
“I’ve always tried to help people, and I’m not finished yet,” Scott said.
Starting the Needy Meat Program was driven by Scott’s faith, and he said it is what God wanted him to do.
“If God is in something, it’s not going to fail,” Scott said.
Debbie Smith, executive director at Soup for the Soul, said the meat from the Needy Meat Program will be a great addition in soups, meatloaf and chili at the kitchen.
“It’s a good way for people to give back to their community because they don’t want the meat, and don’t really know what to do with it,” Smith said. “I just appreciate Mr. Scott for taking this on.”
She said Soup for the Soul opened on June 1, 2015, and today serves dinner to 75-100 people five days a week. Anyone is welcome.
Tonia Casey, executive director of Need Line, said this program will make a difference in the Murray community, and she is looking forward to collaborating with the Needy Meat Program.
“I thank the hunters who are starting this program and the hunters who donate the deer and all donations to help pay for the processing of the meat,” Casey said. “Great Job!”
She said Need Line has many existing partnerships with local entities such as Kids Against Hunger, Farms to Food Banks, Kroger, Walmart and Hunters for the Hungry.
As long as the individual or family qualifies for Need Line’s Pantry Program, Casey
said they will receive meat from the Needy Meat Program.
To be eligible for the Pantry Program, one must show proof of income as well as fill out an application for assistance from Need Line.
“This will help provide a healthy protein to families who might not otherwise be able to afford meat with meals,” Casey said.