Feeding the hungry: Farmers and hunters work to donate meat to local kitchens, missions

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By Anna Skinner

A Noblesville family wanted to make a difference.

So when John and Beth Mollet attended a deer and turkey expo in Indianapolis, they saw their prime opportunity.

“There was a booth looking for coordinators for the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry program,” Beth said. “They didn’t have coordinators in the Marion, Hamilton or Madison counties, so we picked it up and ran with it since.”

FHFH has been in Indiana since 2001, and the Mollets have been coordinators for Hamilton, Marion, Hancock, Henry and Madison counties since 2005. The program provides high-protein, low-fat meats – mostly venison – to local food kitchens and organizations to help feed those who are hungry in Hamilton and surrounding counties.

Some of the organizations the Mollets work with include Wheeler Mission, the Salvation Army and Grace Community Church.

“We are the go-between with the hunter and the butchers and the butcher and the food pantry, food bank and soup kitchens,” John said. “(As coordinators), we raise the funds and awareness to the media, and we try to approach the hunters. If the hunters and farmers don’t know to donate, they don’t donate.”

Although the organization mainly focuses on venison, they accept livestock from farmers as well. The hunters and farmers are able to donate without a cost to them.

“The hunter and farmer pay nothing. We cover the processing fee,” John said. “It usually costs about $70 to process, package and freeze the meat for about 50 pounds of meat. Every deer serves about 200 high-protein, low-fat servings.”

During the Eagle Creek Deer Reduction, FHFH used 200 deer to serve 40,000 meals in central Indiana.

The Mollets use Archer’s Meats in Fishers, but there are a variety of butchers that take part in FHFH in Hamilton County. For hunters looking to donate their meat, they can visit fhfh.org and find Hamilton County to search for a list of places to donate to.

Also, the meat stays in the county it is donated to.

“Mildly undernourished children suffer emotional and physical damage and the impact of hungry children can be lifelong,” Beth said. “We work with other organizations to do this. We are faith-based and a nonprofit, so we work with Catholic charities and Christian charities and pantries to help stamp out hunger in this county. Hamilton County is one of the wealthiest counties, and people think there are no hungry people here, but there are.”

“This (organization) knows no limits,” John said. “It’s a very rewarding ministry.”

Beth and John are both strictly volunteers. John owns Mollet Garage Doors and Beth is a retired nurse. They do their work with FHFH not for a paycheck, but to help the community.

“Knowing that we’ve provided for hungry people is the most rewarding, children in particular. We both have a heart for the child and the elderly, and there are a lot of people out there that don’t have food,” John said. “Stats say one in five children go to bed hungry, and feeding hungry people is the most rewarding thing.”

The Mollets receive some funding, but are always looking for donations and sponsors. To learn more about getting involved or to donate, contact Beth at 650-3616.

More on FHFH:

  • Based out of Maryland
  • Started nationwide in 1997
  • Being used in 27 states
  • 17 coordinators in Indiana
  • 120,000 meals last year in Indiana
  • In Indiana since 2001
  • Beth and John coordinators since 2005

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