Hunters for the Hungry engages ice fisherman to aid Wayside Food Programs

January 17, 2014

For more information, contact: Jason Hall at (207) 287-7513

Accepting donations at:

Crystal Lake (Jan. 25) & Sebago Lake Rotary (Feb. 15-16) Ice Fishing Derbies

AUGUSTA – In a move designed to provide fresh fish to families in need, the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Hunters for the Hungry Program announced today that it is expanding its program to include donations from two popular ice fishing derbies held in January and February, with the fish from the two events going to Wayside Food Programs, a Portland-based, hunger relief agency.

“The Hunters for the Hungry Program has found yet another way to help families in need, this time by enlisting the support of ice fisherman and two communities with successful ice fishing tournaments,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Innovative programs like this encourage neighbors helping neighbors and engage entire communities, in this case, ice fisherman. The fact that this program has been so successful is both a testament to the need and the generosity of Mainers.”

The Hunters for the Hungry Program provides a means for hunters (and now ice fishermen) to donate to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and households with a medical need. Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb noted that since its establishment in 1996, the program has grown steadily and provided thousands of nutritious meals to hungry people across the state.

“I can’t say enough about the role Maine sportsmen and women play in helping provide nutritious meals to hungry people across Maine. This is example of how our Department is working with others, in this case Wayside Food Programs and Salt & Sea in Portland, to help build awareness of the great need for additional supporters and contributions that feed Maine families. Successful participation at these two Maine ice fishing derbies will allow us to further expand this successful program to help more families in need,” said Whitcomb.

Wayside’s Operations Manager Don Morrison highlighted the importance of this joint effort with the Hunters for the Hungry Program and the need for fresh fish, which is usually difficult for Wayside to get.

“This is a great way to get local, fresh fish to people in need,” said Don Morrison. “Too many people are having trouble putting healthy food on their tables,” he said. “This fish is a welcome, healthy addition to what we are serving with our partners at Community Meals. When we are able to serve fish at meals it is a big hit, and the pantries that access our food really appreciate the chance to offer fish to clients. It is also a unique opportunity to salvage fish that might otherwise go to waste.”

Participating Ice Fishing Derbies:

Wayside Food Programs will be at each event with a truck, where donated fish will be put on ice. The fish will be processed by Salt & Sea, a family-owned fish dealer in Portland. Salt & Sea will provide Wayside with fillets that will be served at Community Meals and distributed to area food pantries.

Crystal Lake Ice Fishing Derby (New Gloucester, ME) January 25.

Sebago Lake Rotary Ice Fishing Derby (Sebago Lake & Kezar Lake, ME)February 15-16.

Wayside Food Programs:

Wayside Food Programs is currently in its 28th year of increasing access to nutritious food for those in need. Wayside obtains food from a variety of sources and distributes that food via a number of programs to people suffering from food insecurity in Cumberland County. Wayside’s facilities include a large food warehouse and an industrial kitchen, where food is prepared for meals served at local venues in partnership with other non-profit organizations. Wayside distributes food to more than 40 agencies throughout Cumberland County, including food pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters.

Contact information:

Address: 135 Walton St., Portland, Maine, 04101 Website: Phone: 775-4939. Facebook: Twitter:

Hunter for the Hungry:

The Hunters for the Hungry Program is part of the Department’s Emergency Food Assistance Program. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry distributes donations to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and households with a medical need. It is done in cooperation with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s wardens, Maine State Troopers and caring hunters, are all working towards a common goal of helping fellow Mainers.

Traditionally, the program accepts bear, deer and moose donations. Road kill donations are also accepted, provided the meat is not damaged. Hunters do not pay for the processing of donated meat. Meat processing costs are paid for by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry or the charity that receives the food. Hunters choosing to keep their game can still donate a few pounds to the program. Meat processors that are interested in getting involved with the program and learning how it works should call 207-287-7513.

For more information, to donate, or to get connected to a Hunters for the Hungry participating meat processor call toll free, 1-888-4DEERME (1-888-433-3763). The program also has a Facebook page:

For more information about The Emergency Food Assistance Program: