by Brian McCombie - Monday, August 28, 2023
Continuing its longstanding support for hunters and America’s less fortunate, the NRA Hunters' Leadership Forum (HLF) has allocated $100,000 in grants to subsidize game meat donations for the Hunters for the Hungry (HFH) programs across the United States in 2023. This amount represents an impressive $50,000 increase over the 2021 NRA HLF grant program.
“Due to the overwhelming support of the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum, the 2023 subsidy program will award almost double the funds distributed to processors last year,” said Joseph P. DeBergalis Jr., executive director of NRA General Operations. “Hunters for the Hungry is a meaningful program providing over 8 million meals annually to neighbors and families in need across the country. NRA is proud to support HFH programs and local processors to help hunters donate their harvested game meat.”
Available in awards up to $2,000, the 2023 NRA Hunters for the Hungry Subsidy Program fund will cover the cost of processing, shipping and distributing donated meat. In 2022 alone, the Hunters for the Hungry organizations provided almost 1.6 million pounds of game meat to individuals and food banks in the United States. For more information, including on how your area HFH program can apply for funding, please click here.
For hunters new to the HFH initiative, HFH is a loose affiliation of state and independent groups that have provided 40 million pounds of wild game to individual families, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food banks across the United States. Working with support from the NRA, these groups connect interested individuals with programs in their area so they can donate excess game meat. Since the movement’s launch three decades ago, the NRA has supported HFH education, fundraising and publicity efforts and has funded various HFH groups to the tune of some $650,000 over the years.
The HFH movement also enhances public awareness about the many people across America who simply do not have enough food to meet basic day-to-day needs. For example, the nonprofit Feeding Texas notes that an estimated one in seven Texans experience food insecurity. “A household income that can’t keep pace with the cost of living combined with unexpected expenses like a car accident or medical emergency can force families to make impossible choices between food and other basic needs,” its website explains. Feeding Texas is just one example of a group that, in conjunction with other Texas-based groups and volunteers, has provided more than 10 million meals of hunter-harvested venison since 1997.
New HFH programs are popping up across the country, too, necessitating the need for increased funding, staff, volunteers and meat processors to support HFH efforts. For example, earlier this year, the NRAHLF.org website reported that Marc Peugeot, an NRA employee from Ohio, helped to re-launch a game meat donation program in his part of the Buckeye State in 2022.
As the website shared, Peugeot worked with his NRA and hunting contacts across the state and found three local processors who agreed to take deer for processing to support the program. He also applied for and received a $1,500 grant from the NRA HLF which went far in helping to cover meat processing costs.
“In my part of Ohio, a person can take three deer maximum, only one of which can be a buck,” Peugeot explained. “There are many hunters and landowners who would like to do more to trim our high deer populations, but these are ethical hunters and often they can only use one deer themselves over the course of a year. So, they aren’t about to kill a deer just to kill a deer.”
Fortunately, Peugeot found three local food banks eager to accept hunter-harvested venison. And he expects even bigger things for this year now that word on the HFH program has spread.
There are approximately 40 unique HFH programs operating throughout the United States, most of them running on shoestring budgets. The NRA encourages all members and supporters to donate to these programs either financially or with legally harvested game meat. If you are a hunter who would like to donate game meat or provide other support to an HFH group in your area, please visit https://hfth.nra.org/
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 enjoys hunting hogs, shooting 1911s, watching the Chicago Bears and relaxing with his two cats, Peanut Morgan and MikaBear.
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