Friday, May 21, 2010

Hunting for the Hungry

In Virgina, for almost two decades now, hunters, teaming with the professional game associations, have contributed thousands of pounds of venison to food banks and charities to feed the hungry. Here is some background information.

During the summer of 1991 a meeting was held to determine the feasibility of the Hunters for the Hungry concept in Virginia. Involved in this discussion were representatives of the Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Association of Meat Processors, the Virginia Deer Hunters Association, the Virginia Federation of Foodbanks, other nonprofit food distribution charities, and interested individuals. Information was also available from the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Meat and Poultry Inspection.

The outcome of this meeting indicated that venison could be donated, processed, and distributed while complying with all laws and codes applicable in Virginia. It was decided that the program should be administered by a certified 501 (C) (3) organization and that to function best funds should be raised to cover the costs of having professional meat processors(butchers) accept, cut, wrap, and freeze the deer donated by hunters in Virginia. Distribution would be handled through foodbanks and other charities. A nonprofit administrator volunteered to take on the project as a pilot effort and Hunters for the Hungry began in Virginia in the fall of 1991.

During the first year over 33,000 pounds of venison was donated, processed, and distributed. The program expanded and in its second year over 68,000 pounds of meat was handled.

It became clear that the potential of the program was quite large and the decision was made in January of 1993 to form a separate nonprofit corporation to administer and operate the program. This was accomplished and continues to exist. That organization has a corporate title of Virginia Hunters Who Care, Inc.

The Hunters for the Hungry program has continued to expand. Annual distribution now exceeds 400,000 pounds.

For more information, check out the website: Virginia Hunters for the Hungry.

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