by Josh Wilson, FHFH Executive Director
When there isn’t enough money to make ends meet and people are struggling to put food on their table, they often reach out to food banks, food pantries and feeding ministries for help.
As we continue to suffer the economic effects from the COVID pandemic these organizations provide an important lifeline to people in need. These organizations often list meat as one of their top donation needs. The donation of fresh meat is typically less frequent than other food items, and due to the higher cost of meat, most agencies are unable to purchase sufficient quantities. FHFH has provided almost 21 million servings of meat for people struggling with hunger since 1997.
We rely on the donation of deer and livestock by hunters and farmers, financial support from individuals, businesses, churches, clubs and foundations, time given by our volunteers, and the partnership of our participating meat processors.
Because FHFH pays the fee for processing deer or livestock, there is no cost to the hunter or farmer donating or the food bank, food pantry or feeding ministry receiving the much-needed meat. On behalf of FHFH and the people who are struggling with hunger, we thank you for your generous support as we work together to end hunger in our country!
Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s Outdoor Fund Awards FHFH grant
The Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund has awarded a grant to the national Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry venison donation ministry. This funding will help FHFH pay meat processing bills to transform donated deer into nutritious meat for local food banks while helping people across the nation see and understand the incredible value of the various “hunters for the hungry” programs.
“On behalf of those in our country who struggle with hunger, we thank the Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund for their generosity and support of our mission to end hunger in America,” said FHFH Executive Director Josh Wilson
Guided by the visionary leadership of Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris, the Outdoor Fund empowers Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s 200 million annual customers to support conservation efforts by rounding up their purchases. Rallying passionate customers alongside dedicated team members, industry partners and leading conservation organizations, Bass Pro is creating North America’s largest conservation movement to collectively shape the future of the outdoors and all who love it for generations to come.
FHFH Chapter news
Lehigh Valley FHFH in Pennsylvania received two donated deer so far this season. Matt Coblentz, chapter coordinator for Lehigh Valley FHFH (PA-08), purchased a steer using COVID-19 relief funds that yielded 481 pounds of beef – enough for 1,924 servings of nutritious meat for people in need.
FHFH donates funds to Bloom Home for Girls to purchase meat
FHFH donated COVID-19 relief funds to the Bloom Home for Girls in Massachusetts. They used the money to purchase meat for their freezer this fall and winter. The first batch of meat purchased included beef, chicken and pork. Bloom is a ministry of Teen Challenge. Tori Ferrari, director of Bloom Home for Girls sent this note of appreciation:
“FHFH is such a huge blessing to our ministry! For the last few years since we opened this shelter home for teenage girls, we have been trying to find an individual or organization that could donate meat and stock our freezers for many months to come. As I was researching one day, I came across FHFH and fell in love with what they do for God’s children! I reached out to Josh and he instantly responded, eager to help. He was flexible and willing to find a solution for our need and he fulfilled our request above and beyond what we even asked. The Lord used Josh and FHFH to bless us beyond comprehension. We are so thankful to FHFH and the partnership that we have now formed with this wonderful and generous organization. We pray that they are abundantly blessed in return!”
COVID-19 impacts local deer processors – hunters should plan ahead
Many hunters across the country enjoy processing the deer they harvest into delicious steaks, roasts, and specialty items such as sausage and jerky at home. Many others rely on the services of local butcher shops and meat markets for their deer processing needs – locations that may be impacted this fall by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The FHFH venison donation ministry is advising hunters who plan to donate deer to any hunters for the hungry program – along with those who opt to have their own deer processed professionally – to avoid frustrating surprises by checking with their local butcher for any changes related to COVID-19.
“The impact of COVID-19 on some of the larger commercial processing plants in locations across the country has had a trickle-down impact on many local butchers and meat markets,” said FHFH Executive Director Josh Wilson. “There are some meat processing locations that are completely booked with livestock processing until well into the new year – and as a result some have opted to pause the deer processing portion of their business until they are caught up.With more people than usual depending on food assistance programs and ministries due to the pandemic, we are encouraging all hunters to plan ahead and make sure they can continue to donate their deer this season.”
While this situation is not expected to impact all areas, hunters should check with their local butcher or meat market ahead of time to become aware of any changes due to COVID-19. In the event that a location is not handling deer at all this season, it may be possible to find an alternate location for donation or custom deer processing within a reasonable distance.
FHFH is looking for stories and photos from deer donors, meat processors, feeding programs, food banks and volunteers to feature on its website, email news and social media pages. A sentence or two with a photo can be worth the proverbial “thousand words” in sharing the organization mission with others. Please email stories and photos to [email protected].
Do you have a great venison recipe that you would like to share? Please send your recipe along with your first name and state [email protected].