BY: LORI KERSEY – NOVEMBER 7, 2023 5:57 AM
The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is seeking more meat processors to participate in Hunters Helping the Hungry, a program that allows state deer hunters to donate game to the state’s food banks.
The number of meat processors for the program is down from 20 in 2017 to 12 this year, program coordinator Trevor Moore said in an email.
“We need more processors to reach our goal of having processors all over the state so everyone has an opportunity to participate and receive the benefits of this program,” Moore said.
Deer hunters take the meat to processors, where it’s ground, packaged and frozen. The state’s two food banks, Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway and Facing Hunger Foodbank in Huntington, distribute it to their networks of distribution sites.
During the 2022 season, the program supplied approximately 23,000 pounds of deer meat to Mountaineer Food Bank, spokeswoman Caitlin Cook said. The season before that, in 2021, it supplied the food bank 19,850 pounds of meat, she said.
“This program is a great way for us to engage the community in the fight to end hunger in West Virginia,” she said.
To participate, processors must be certified with either the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.
Certified processors can express interest by sending a copy of their certification to Moore, by calling 304-924-6211 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We hope this will be a call to action to the public and hunting communities,” Moore said. “If they don’t need the deer meat they are always welcome to donate it to HHH, to help feed those people who do need it.”
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