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Hunters can donate venison to the needy

ELKINS — Local hunters can donate venison to needy families in our region as part of a state Division of Natural Resources statewide program.

West Virginia’s buck firearms season is underway and the DNR is encouraging hunters to give back to their community by donating their harvest to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program.

The 2020 season marks the 29th consecutive year the DNR Wildlife Resources Section has sponsored the HHH Program. Since the inception of the program, hunters, financial contributors and participating processors have enabled the processing of 27,066 deer. With their generosity and the assistance of two area food banks, 1,026,593 pounds of highly nutritious meat has been provided to needy families and individuals throughout West Virginia.

Hunters who decide to participate in the program take their deer to a participating meat processor, where the processor grinds, packages and freezes the venison. The Mountaineer Food Bank of Gassaway and Facing Hunger Foodbank of Huntington, both members of Feeding America, pick up the venison and distribute it to the needy through their statewide network of 600 charitable food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, shelters, community centers, orphanages, missions, and churches.

“We’re very fortunate in West Virginia to have a strong hunting heritage and people who are also very generous,” said Scott Warner, assistant chief for wildlife diversity for the WVDNR. “Our Hunters Helping the Hungry program incorporates both of those things about our state and does a lot of good for needy families and people who may be down on their luck this time of year.”

“The average deer will yield about 40 pounds of meat or 100 meals,” Warner said. “That amount of food goes a long way to helping those who are less fortunate and addressing food insecurity in our state.”

Local meat processors participating in the program include:

* Randolph County — Teets Meat Packing on the Harpertown Road in Elkins. Contact Scott Teets at 304-636-9748;

* Barbour County — B&L Beef at 913 Long Run Road in Belington. Contact Bud England at 304-823-1060;

* Upshur County — Waugh’s Custom Cutting at 3235 Old Elkins Road in Buckhannon. Contact Jerry Waugh at 304-472-0705;

* Pocahontas County — Pocahontas County FFA at 271 Warrior Way in Dunmore. Contact Erwin Berry at 304-799-6564.

Funding for Hunters Helping the Hungry is provided by the West Virginia Council of Churches, wildlife organizations, private donations and contributions made during the annual Governor’s One Shot antlerless deer hunt.

Interested individuals, churches, organizations and businesses can help to ensure the perpetuation of the HHH Program through a monetary donation that can be made at any time.

Checks and money orders should be made out to Hunters Helping the Hungry and mailed to:

Hunters Helping the Hungry

WV Division of Natural Resources

163 Wildlife Road

French Creek, WV 26218

For more information regarding the HHH Program, please contact Judy Channell at 304-924-6211 or Judy.A.Channell@wv.gov.

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