Virginia charity needs donations to make use of deer

Published 10:55 am Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hunters for the Hungry had a record year in 2009 with nearly 400,000 pounds of venison being donated to the organization. Hunters for the Hungry processes and distributes the meat at no charge to local feeding programs.

This year’s total donations broke last year’s record and adds up to 16.5 million servings of venison made possible through Hunters for the Hungry since its founding in 1991.

Even though deer season is not over, Hunters for the Hungry is no longer accepting deer this season.

Monetary donations are greatly needed however so Hunters for the Hungry can pay to professionally process the meat and distribute it to organizations such as churches, food banks and the Salvation Army.

“We want to thank all the hunters, processors and financial donors that made it possible to provide this volume of nutritious meat to people in need throughout Virginia,” said Laura Newell-Furniss, program director for Hunters for the Hungry.

“It is with a heavy heart that we stop accepting deer for this season…The feeding programs that we supply report a dramatic increase in their need for food. We just do not have the funding to guarantee that we can pay our processors if we continue to accept deer,” Newell-Furniss said.

Hunters donate deer throughout the season at participating processing locations. The program is cost-effective, with the average cost of processed venison coming out to 80 cents per pound. Venison is low in fat and high in protein, making it a valuable red meat for community feeding programs.

In the final days of deer hunting season, Hunters for the Hungry estimated it could’ve received 1,500 or more deer, amounting to $60,000 or more in processing cost. Donations are needed for deer that have already been donated. With what Hunters for the Hungry’s already received this season, more than 1.5 million quarter-pound servings of venison can be provided.

Anyone looking to learn more about Hunters for the Hungry can go to www.h4hungry.org or call 1-800-352-4868. Donations are tax-deductible and can be mailed to Hunters for the Hungry, P.O. Box 304, Big Island, Va. 24526.