Tennessee Wildlife Federation, one of the largest and oldest nonprofits dedicated to conserving the state’s wildlife and natural resources, is kicking off the 25th year of its Hunters for the Hungry program. The Federation is celebrating a quarter of a century of the program as the 2022 deer season opens this weekend.
Established in 1998, the Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program has been a platform for generous hunters to give back to Tennessee communities. Hunters for the Hungry is a unique and creative way to provide healthy, much-needed protein to food-insecure Tennesseeans while helping to manage the state’s deer herd. Hunters for the Hungry partners with certified wild game processors across the state who in turn receive donated venison during white-tailed deer season, process the meat free or at a reduced rate, and make it available to local food banks and soup kitchens at no cost.
Our success speaks to Tennesseans’ spirit of giving
“Our success heading into our 25th anniversary year speaks to Tennesseans’ spirit of giving. Hunters understand how precious our natural resources are and the efforts required to source local, organic protein. Hunters for the Hungry wouldn’t be where it is today without the commitment that our hunting community has to giving back.”Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry Manager
During deer season, hunters who harvest a deer may donate it to Hunters for the Hungry at a participating processor. Once the venison is processed, the protein is made available to local food banks and soup kitchens. One deer can supply as many as 168 meals of venison.
From the 2021-2022 season, over half a million servings of fresh venison were provided. More than 3,000 of those went to the northwest Tennessee tornado relief efforts. Hunters for the Hungry has also supplied the Nashville Backpack program with over 47,000 packages of venison stack sticks since 2016. Since the beginning of the program, more than 8.7M meals have been provided, and 2.1M+ pounds of venison.
The Federation looks forward to making its 25th year of Hunters for the Hungry one of the most successful years to date. Those with valid Tennessee hunting licenses can donate deer to one of the 69 participating processors–including nine new processors this year. The program also relies on monetary donations to operate. To donate visit tnwf.org/hungry.
Feature photo by Roger Trentham