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Illinois Deer Donation Program

White-tailed doe standing in grassy prairie
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Expanding food access to Illinois residents

One in 10 people in Illinois struggle with hunger every day, including one in eight children. The Illinois Deer Donation Program provides a pathway to expand community access to lean protein throughout East-Central Illinois and reduce barriers to healthier lifestyles.

This pilot program will connect meat processors, hunters, and food pantries in twelve central Illinois Counties: Clay, Coles, Cumberland, DeWitt, Douglas, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, and Shelby. By engaging hunters to donate their deer and meat processors to produce ground venison, a local source of lean protein will be available to food pantry clients. Clients will also receive recipes and resources from Illinois Extension to help them prepare venison at home, which might be unfamiliar to some individuals and families.

Become a partner

Hunters, meat processors, and food pantries can connect with the project to make a local impact. Fill out our partner form at to indicate your interest and start the process.

For more information about the program or becoming a partner, contact Meredith Probst at

Donate today

Your donation as a sponsor helps to reimburse meat processors for their time and effort.

Donate Online: Access secure and confidential online giving through University of Illinois Foundation. Visit, select “Other”, and enter “University of Illinois Extension, HEAT Deer Donation" to begin.

Donate by Mail: write a check and mail it to one of the local Illinois Extension county offices below.

Illinois county map

Macon County Extension Office
Attn: HEAT Deer Donation
3351 N. President Howard Brown Blvd.
Decatur, IL 62521

Effingham County Extension Office
Attn: HEAT Deer Donation
1209 Wenthe Drive
Effingham, IL 62401

Coles County Extension Office
Attn: HEAT Deer Donation
809 Broadway
Mattoon, IL 61938

Find a local contact

DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt Counties: 

Caitlin Mellendorf | 217-877-6042

Coles, Cumberland, Douglas, Moultrie, and Shelby Counties

Meredith Probst | 217-345-7034

Clay, Effingham, Fayette, and Jasper Counties

Michelle Fombelle | 217-347-7773

Media and News

  • Hunting Illinois Podcast (Illinois Learn to Hunt): Apple | Spotify | YouTube
  • Illinois Deer Donation Program provides community access to lean protein: WCIA's CILivingTVposted 04/26/2022


The program is funded in part by the Health Equity Achieved Together Project (HEAT), a multi-disciplinary collaboration with University of Illinois Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education.

This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material funded by USDA’s SupplementalNutrition Assistance Program - SNAP. College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences. University of Illinois | United States Department of Agriculture | Local Extension Councils Cooperating.