Jindal signs bills to help feed the hungry
Flanked by state legislators and other governmental figures, Gov. Bobby Jindal took steps Tuesday to rectify a problem that prevented donated game from reaching a homeless shelter by signing two “common-sense” bills into law at the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission.
Trouble arose last year when some 1,600 pounds of deer meat were turned away from the mission because the law prohibited that type of meat and fish donation. “Because of the previous law, the deer meat was destroyed and removed from this mission, leaving less food for the hungry,” the governor said.
“This is one of those crazy situations where it defied common sense,” he said. The bills were drafted to fix the problem “so our hunters can do what they love to do, and we can continue to feed the hungry, those that are less fortunate, those that are the most vulnerable in our society.
“If law-abiding hunters want to help the hungry, they should be able to do so free of bureaucratic obstacles.”
Jindal said the Shreveport- Bossier Rescue Mission exists “to pursue the passion of Christ, to lift up the hungry, the homeless, the abused, the addicted.”
Another organization, Hunters for the Hungry, teams up with such missions to combat hunger by coordinating the donation of game to the hungry across the state of Louisiana.
“Hunters for the Hungry has collected more than 150,000 pounds of game and fish in Louisiana since it started its program in the 1990s,” Jindal said.
The first bill — SB 58 by Sen.
Sherri Buffington — updates state law and allows shelters to serve meat and fish given to them “by caring groups and citizens like Louisiana sportsmen.”
Senate Bill 84 by Sen. Neil Riser allows hunters and anglers to make a donation to Hunters for the Hungry to help offset meatprocessing costs via a check-off box on applications for hunting and fishing licenses.
State Sen. Buffington said, “Louisiana has always had a strong hunting heritage, and I cannot think of a better way to say thank you to the hunters, the fishermen and all of those people in Louisiana who are so generous. When they have a successful season, one of their first thoughts is, how can I help somebody else? What can I do?” State Rep. Jeff Thompson said, “It wasn’t that long ago we were gathered in this room to talk about the bad that had happened. In a lot of places, they would have spent the time between then and now trying to fix the blame. In Louisiana, here in the Sportsman’s Paradise, we spend our time fixing the problem. We’re here today to celebrate that the problem’s been fixed.
“And what a great testament it is to have every single legislator in both houses sign on and support these bills and to have our governor fly through nothing short of tornadic activity to be here to show his continued support for sportsmen and for hunters across Louisiana and do what he can to help the homeless and those that are less fortunate.”
Commissioner of Agriculture and Wildlife Mike Strain said that, when the problem with the donated deer meat surfaced, “your community rallied and said, ‘We have a problem.’ “We have people here at this mission who need to be fed, and the food was destroyed. I called our friends at Foster Farms and said, ‘I need some chicken … 1,600 pounds.’ And they said, ‘White or dark?’ and I said, ‘Whatever you can get there.’ “Then I picked up the phone, and I called the Cattlemen’s Association. I said, ‘Listen, I just got 1,600 pounds of chicken from Foster Farms.’ And they said, ‘You know what? We can match that.’” Passing the new laws demonstrates that “we can come in and make it right,” Strain said.
“We have a bill that, forever more, we can encourage our hunters to bring in their game, let it be processed, let it be fed to those who desperately need it,” said Strain.
“Through these laws we can continue to take care of our people and putting the blessing of the great outdoors to good use. Louisiana is no stranger to crises, but when those crises hit, our people act, and we help our neighbors in need,” Gov. Jindal said.
“Unfortunately, there are many Louisianans in need who may not know where their next meal is coming from. The Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission and many other organizations exist to help our fellow Louisianans find a meal. Those of us who are more fortunate can help provide meals by doing what we love and hunting in Sportsman’s Paradise.
“These new laws help us achieve that goal and helps us achieve one of the things we do best in Louisiana: helping those in need.”