INDIANAPOLIS — Purdue University student Emily Zimmer is on a mission this summer to provide protein to those who are hungry.

Zimmer co-founded Meat Hunger, a youth-led livestock auction buyer’s group that purchases 4-H livestock projects in St. Joseph County.

The livestock is processed free of charge through a nonprofit, Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry. Then it’s sent to local food banks.

From field to table, the meat stays within St. Joseph County.

“Meat is considered a luxury item in most of the food banks,” said Zimmer, a sophomore at Purdue University studying animal sciences. “They don’t get a huge supply of it.

“Sometimes they don’t have the refrigeration. And most people donate non-perishable food. Protein makes up about 8% of what is donated to food banks. There’s definitely a need for meat and protein.”

This year, there also will be a non-perishable food drive at the fair June 28-July 6. Anyone who donates two food items will receive $2 off admission.

Meat Hunger was one of 10 programs statewide approved for matching grants via the “Indiana 4-H Takes a Bite out of Hunger” community service initiative.

Meat Hunger also is one of the 33 Indiana counties participating in the 2019 Indiana State Fair FAIRs Care program.

“Most of the meat we’re buying this year will go to the Cultivate Culinary backpack program that’s for the South Bend schools,” Zimmer said.

How You Can Help

If farmers want to donate their animals, they can donate to Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry year-round.

“They are statewide and they process any animals you donate,” Zimmer said. “If you say you want this to be a part of Meat Hunger, they will put those animals towards us.”

You can also make a tax deductible donation to the buyer’s group. Cash and/or livestock donations are accepted. A PayPal option also is available.

Checks may be made payable and mailed to: Meat Hunger, 50811 Park Lane, Granger, IN 46530.

For more information, visit the Meat Hunger Facebook page.

Erica Quinlan can be reached at 800-426-9438, ext. 193, or equinlan@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Quinlan.

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