Hungry families in Maine are getting help thanks to Maine hunters. The Hunters for Hungry program is expanding, putting more Maine game like moose, deer and fish meat on the dinner table…and in more Mainer’s bellies.Catholic Charities Maine is used to getting nonstop donations of canned food, fruits and vegetables. But now they can add fresh moose and deer meat to that regular roster. Since last summer they’ve been one of many food pantry beneficiaries of the Hunters for Hungry Program. The program allows Maine hunters to donate some moose, deer and bear meat to hungry Mainers. Catholic Charities Food Relief Services Director Dixie Shaw says it’s a partnership that’s worked quite well for Aroostook County folks in need. “They bring it to us, we get it, and we distribute it throughout the 25 food pantries that we work with, its meat, we live in potato country so you get meat and potatoes you’re styling,” says Shaw. The Hunters for Hungry program is run by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. Shaw says in this past hunting season, they received meat from 12 moose and one bear. She says its a great way to use a popular Maine recreational activity to help ease a popular problem in the state….hunger. In addition to hunters, Shaw says the pantries also deal with Maine slaughterhouses. Shaw says “it goes to a local slaughterhouse we use two in the county, one in Mapleton and one in Frenchville and we go pick up the meat once its all packaged and processed and bring it here and distribute it to our 25 pantries.” Shaw says expanding the Hunters for Hungry program is a big help to a number of Mainers in need. She says she’s heard from many families who are appreciative that this program exists. “They’re very appreciative of this because again its meat and meat is very expensive for us to purchase and we oftentimes spend our limited dollars on vegetables, cereal, pasta and things like that,” says Shaw. And while the program also allows fish to be donated to pantries from various derbies DOWNSTATE. That part of the program has not been expanded to Aroostook County just yet. But Shaw says its in the near future. “At some point real soon we’ll be able to get people on board with that idea but first its gonna require us to go through some hoops with the Dept. of Agriculture and Maine Fish and Wildlife,” says Shaw. Overall she says she’s always ON THE HUNT for and is WILD about any idea that fills more Mainers’ bellies.