Just reading the ads ought to make any hunter stop to think. “Hunters never go hungry, but children do.” That’s the moniker hung on the advertisements for the Mississippi Hunter’s Harvest program sponsored jointly by the Mississippi Wildlife Federation, the Mississippi Food Network and the J.C. Kennedy Foundation.
The purpose behind the Hunter’s Harvest program is simple. The function is to persuade deer hunters to donate their deer meat to the network so that it can be shared with a number of benefactors via the Mississippi Food Network. It also works to recruit deer meat processors that will donate their time to process the venison or make the cost as reasonable as possible. It’s a joint effort to feed the hungry.
It also needs to be mentioned here that without the involvement and donation of grant funds from the J.C. Kennedy Foundation that it would be very difficult to make this program work effectively. We should all appreciate this grant donation as well as the time the Mississippi Wildlife Federation contributes and also the Mississippi Food Network. It is definitely a team effort along with our hunters contributing the venison.
Win-win bullet points to success
Indeed, the Mississippi Hunter’s Harvest is a win-win project in which any number of organizations can get involved from individual deer hunters, deer clubs, families of hunters, private landowner hunters, service groups, corporate entities and small businesses including processors as well as hunter sporting goods retailers.
They all benefit by:
> Hunters win by doing their part to help people in need.
> Partner processors win by getting positive feedback for their involvement and donation of freezer space.
> Organizations can win by having a service project for a good cause.
> The Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks has another tool to use in management of Mississippi’s valuable deer resource.
Results of the program
To date, since last Jan. 19, 2012, there have been 3,081 pounds of meat donated by sportsmen through the Hunter’s Harvest program. This in effect provided 8,216 meals to needy people around the state.
Processed venison has been distributed through 29 churches and agencies including the Hickory Baptist Church Food Pantry, Manna House, Scott County Baptist Association Crises Center, Good Samaritan Center, Planting Seeds Ministry, Gateway Rescue Mission, Grenada Food Pantry, Marion County Food Pantry, New Covenant Church of Jones County, South Rankin Food Resource Center, Tinnin Road Church of Christ, Midtown Partners and many, many others.
A huge link in the success of the entire program besides the hunters that deliver their deer in to be processed is the processors themselves. Their effort is obviously essential and makes the whole project work efficiently. These businesses are to be applauded for their contributions of labor to cut and wrap the venison, but also to use their commercial freezer space for temporary storage of the meat.
Participating deer processors involved to date include:
> The Sportsman’s Deer Processing in Canton
> Buck Shot, Flora
> Van’s in Brandon
> D’Wayne’s Deer Processing in Holcomb
> Dave’s Custom Meats, Vicksburg
Processors that participate in the “Pitch in a Pound Partners” include The Outfitter in Florence and B&D Processing in Louisville.
The Mississippi Hunter’s Harvest program is constantly on the search for other deer processors to participate in the program. If you know of a high-quality venison processor that you use, please encourage them to contact the Mississippi Wildlife Federation at 601-605-1790 to volunteer for the Hunter’s Harvest team.
Mississippians are a generous lot of people. Mississippi ranks at the top of the states in terms of how we contribute to needy causes. Hunter’s can make their own great contribution simply by dropping off extra harvested deer at one of the participating deer meat processors. Their work and the Mississippi Food Network take care of the rest. Remember, hunters never go hungry, but children do.
And speaking of generosity in Mississippi, the grant funding for the Hunter’s Harvest program is scheduled to lapse next February. This is a great opportunity for some corporate sponsor or benevolent individual to step up to permanently fund this program. Can you hear me now, C-Spire, Primos Game Calls, Toyota, Chevron, Ingalls, Peavey, Haas Outdoors/Mossy Oak, Ergon, Barksdale Brothers, Nissan or Entergy? I’m sure your employees would get on board, too, if you guys would.
Just think of the positive PR.