Winchester, Va. - Established in 1991, Hunters for the Hungry has been giving local hunters an opportunity to donate venison meat to their communities.
"It’s an organization set up to help needy families that aren’t able to go out and purchase beef,” said Travis Streit, part-owner of T&R Deer Processing in Winchester. “They get deer meat from hunters that give it away."
Hunters give their excess venison meat to participating deer processors, who use their time and resources to package the venison for those in need.
"One or two deer is all I need,” said Keith Trenary, owner of T&R Deer Processing. “This is an opportunity to still hunt, have a place to get rid of the deer and give back to the community too."
After it leaves the processing facility, the venison is brought to local area food banks and pantries.
"It’s greatly appreciated what the hunters are doing for us. Depending on the years, our freezers can be quite bare, so it's greatly appreciated to get the deer meat in," said Jarret Tomalesky, Winchester Branch Manager of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.
Last year, T&R Deer Processing was able to donate 18,000 pounds of venison meat to help local families.
"Oh yeah they like it,” laughed Gretchen Anderson, a volunteer at C-CAP, a local food pantry in Front Royal. “I was surprised how many people wanted deer meat, because I’m a suburb girl, but yeah, people really like it."
Since 1991 Hunters For The Hungry has donated almost 21 million quarter-servings of venison meat to local food banks and other needy food pantries across the state of Virginia.
"I like what it stands for. I like the fact that we get to help people out that are in need. It's not necessarily a money maker for us, but in the same breath, what it stands for, is really all you need," said Streit.
And all hunters need are a willingness to donate to a local participating processing facility, and they can help provide food to local families.