Hunters for the Hungry provided more than 561,600 servings of venison to those in need in 2019. This hunting season, as more Tennessee families experience food insecurity because of the pandemic, the Federation hopes to build upon last year’s success.
Reliable donations of protein are in high demand for hunger relief organizations experiencing an increase in traffic across the state at the same time that beef and chicken supply chains are stretched.
“Each time you donate your harvest, you’re helping fill a growing need for lean, healthy protein,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. “One deer can provide as many as 168 meals to hungry Tennessee families and children.”
Hunters for the Hungry will test every deer donated within Unit CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) for the disease. Hunters for the Hungry will also test many of the donations made outside Unit CWD in Region 1.
Only whole deer donations will be accepted in Region 1 and the counties that border it. Pound or Pack donations, which allow hunters to give a portion of their harvest, will continue to be accepted in the rest of the state.
Hunters for the Hungry would not exist without our generous processors. Like many Tennesseans experiencing hardship during these unprecedented times, Hunters for the Hungry processors have also felt the effects of the pandemic on their businesses.
“Our hard-working processors are the heart of this program,” said Matt. “The Federation values everything they do to bridge the gap between Tennessee’s hunters and food insecurity across our state.”
To ensure Hunters for the Hungry processors get the assistance they need to continue processing deer donations during these difficult times, the Federation is allocating $160,000—which was awarded to the Federation from the Tennessee Community CARES program—to help ease the financial burden processors are experiencing.
THE IMPACT OF YOUR SUPPORT
“As we walked through the door holding the crates filled with Bridge Bags, including your (venison) snack sticks, the children began jumping and cheering! We quickly realized that they were not celebrating in English and that there was a language barrier. This was a reminder that hunger has no barriers; not language, race, sex or social status. We handed the bags out to the students and left the classroom. The teacher followed us out of the room and informed us that this was a class of refugee children and that, just months earlier, six of them were child soldiers fighting in civil conflict in the nations they were rescued from. Your snack sticks are feeding and bringing joy to some of the most vulnerable children in our country!”
-The Bridge Ministry volunteer
Since 2016, Hunters for the Hungry has turned a portion of deer donations into snack sticks for kids which are then distributed by local food banks and soup kitchens.