by Brian McCombie - Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Knowing how generous America’s hunters are, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH), the national venison donation ministry, has launched its “Hunt Down Hunger” campaign in time for the 2022 holiday season.
Hunt Down Hunger is a national campaign encouraging hunters across America to help feed the hungry by donating their legally harvested game meat to local hunger relief charities and ministries. The campaign will help individuals and families this Christmas and beyond, as costs for necessities such as food and fuel have risen.
And risen they have, thanks to the significant inflation which has besieged Americans over the last year.
Josh Wilson, FHFH’s Executive Director, told the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum (HLF) website that the food banks he’s heard from of late are often experiencing empty shelves because of a greater demand than normal.
“My future daughter-in-law is a loan officer at a local credit union,” Wilson said. “She shared with me last evening how desperate people are becoming in these times we live in. She’s had calls from people who need a loan to buy gas or to pay their mortgage or rent—and to help purchase food.”
Wilson continued, “Larger cities have more available resources it seems, so many of the small outlying communities need our help. In all ways my heart is truly burdened by the desperate needs of others who are going without basic necessities—having to choose between gas in their vehicles or food.”
The NRA HLF has been a proud sponsor and supporter of FHFH and continues to aid in FHFH’s efforts to help the needy.
"The Hunters’ Leadership Forum is grateful for the opportunity to partner with organizations like Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help solve the hunger issue in the United States," said the NRA HLF’s Peter Churchbourne. "We encourage the donation of game meat to help with this effort, and advocate for sharing the important role hunters fill in solving the food security equation. We look forward to building future campaigns that will add much needed value, funding, and awareness to this extremely important effort."
Last year, the NRA HLF made available $50,000 in grant monies to local groups affiliated with the national Hunters for the Hungry movement to help defray meat processing and related costs. Grants were awarded to groups across the United States in amounts up to $1,500, and all of the available grant monies were distributed.
Founded by Rick Wilson in 1997, Maryland’s Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry began as a ministry of a local church in Hagerstown, Md. Wilson patterned the program after Virginia’s successful Hunters for the Hungry program, Virginia Hunters Who Care, with the goal of distributing donated game meat to food banks across the state. As in Virginia, Maryland’s deer hunters responded enthusiastically, doing their part to fight hunger while promoting our hunting tradition.
Since its 1997 launch in Maryland, FHFH has grown into a multi-state organization that today includes approximately 90 volunteer coordinators and more than 125 participating butcher shops in nearly 20 states across America. Hunter-donated deer and elk remain the primary sources of meat provided by FHFH to the needy of local communities, though in some locales donations also include livestock from farmers.
“Since 1997, FHFH has paid for the processing of enough deer, elk and livestock donations to provide nearly 22 million servings of nutritious protein-rich meat to help feed needy children, families and individuals,” Wilson noted. “Currently we have 38 other venison donation programs listed on our website map at feedingthehungry.org.
As Wilson also shared, the NRA Hunter's Leadership Forum and NRA Hunters for the Hungry program have both been valuable collaborators with FHFH and the venison donation movement across the nation this year. “Together we are encouraging greater hunter participation and increased public support for the various donation programs across the country,” Wilson added. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner together and look forward to developing new ideas and campaigns in 2023 to help Americans in need.”
About the Author
NRAHLF.org contributor Brian McCombie is a field editor for the NRA’s American Hunter and writes about firearms and gear for the NRA’s Shooting Illustrated. He is a member of the National Rifle Association and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Brian likes hunting hogs, shooting 1911s chambered in 10mm and .45 ACP, watching the Chicago Bears and relaxing with his two cats, Peanut Morgan and MikaBear.
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