Hunters all over Virginia are excited about the prospect of bagging a nice buck or doe this season. Some skilled and lucky hunters will harvest several deer, perhaps more than they need themselves. What to do with all that meat? Why not consider donating a whole deer to Hunters for the Hungry and make a big difference in the lives of those who are struggling.
And, if you can’t donate a deer, Hunters for the Hungry also needs help with funds to process the venison. The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has made it easier than ever to donate online—simply create an account at GoOutdoorsVirginia.com to contribute today! Also, you can donate at one of the 700 license agents across the state who are partnering with DGIF to help make this the most successful donation season yet.
“If you can imagine going meal after meal after meal without any quality meat how very much you would appreciate that ground meat, that steak, that roast or that tenderloin you are receiving! I’ve seen people with tears of appreciation in their eyes, just that grateful,” says Laura Newell Furniss, Director of Hunters for the Hungry (HftH) a non-profit located in Big Island, Virginia.
All of the healthy, nutritious venison donated by hunters goes directly to local shelters, food banks and soup kitchens across Virginia.
Newell Furniss said this time of year people coming into food banks and church food pantries begin asking, “When will you have some venison?”
“For a lot of elderly folks who grew up eating venison, but have fallen on hard times, having a meal like this brings back special memories.”
How to Donate
•It’s easy to donate. Simply drop off your whole, field-dressed deer at one of the more than 80 HftH processors and collection sites located all across the state. Find them here: h4hungry.org
•At the processor, fill out simple paper work: your address, phone number, game tag number, county of harvest, and date of harvest. That is all there is to it.
•Processors donate their time and effort at a reduced rate. Please consider donating money when you buy your hunting license this year, at GoOutdoorsVirginia.com. This fulfills a great need and ensures there will be funds to process all of the deer donated.
Hunters donating a whole deer—HftH is asking for mature, large-bodied deer to be as cost effective as possible–should also complete a ticket while at the processor to enter a free raffle drawing. Twenty-five hunters will win, and the prizes are pretty awesome—they include rifles, shotguns, trail cameras, crossbows and more. Top prize is a $1000 Gift certificate to Green Top Sporting Goods. This raffle is only available to hunters who donate, and is a way of saying ‘thank you’ to those who do so.
Newell Furniss says the non-profit has distributed an amazing “25.5 million servings of venison since 1991,” when the late founder David Horne’s vision to help feed the hungry with healthy venison became a reality. “He knew hunters always shared their harvests.”
Since Horne passed back in 2002, Furniss has been directing the operation and keeping HftH afloat and thriving. A few years ago during an especially productive deer season, HftH served up a record 1.6 million meals. This year she is counting on hunters to continue their generosity and to meet the goal of 325,000 pounds of venison, or a whopping 1.3 million servings.
Hunters for the Hungry is run by a staff of only three people, plus volunteers. For more information, visit www.h4hungry.org.