Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program is encouraging hunters to donate their deer to help feed those in need this Thanksgiving season.
Hunters can find a participating processor near them at tnwf.org/processors.
When hunters donate their harvest, the venison is processed and then provided to local hunger relief organizations. One deer provides 168 meals.
Hunters for the Hungry relies on more than 60 processors statewide to process donations from generous hunters.
“Our hard-working processors and generous hunters are the heart of this program,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. “Like many Tennesseans, they are experiencing hardships during these unprecedented times. We’re proud to have secured more funding that will take the burden off both processors and hunters so, together, we can feed even more Tennesseans this year.”
The Tennessee Department of Human Services awarded Hunters for the Hungry $160,000 through the Tennessee Community CARES Program for our work to aid food insecure populations who have been particularly vulnerable because of Covid-19. This project is funded under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee and funds are being used to cover processing fees for hunters, provide extra freezer space so processors can store all of the donations they receive, and more.
“The funding from the Tennessee CARES Program will go a long way in helping our processors provide lean, healthy protein to Tennessee families and children in need this time of year–a need that has been greatly exacerbated because of Covid-19,” said Simcox.
Currently, hunters can drop off a whole deer donation at no cost to them. Each year, Hunters for the Hungry covers tens of thousands of dollars in processing fees for donations. If deer donations surpass available funding for this season, hunters can pay a reduced, $50 processing fee or redeem a Deer Coin.
In partnership with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), 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 will properly discard all donations that test positive for CWD.
For more information about Hunters for the Hungry, visit tnwf.org/HuntersForTheHungry.