From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
-- Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) are collaborating with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife in an effort to assist with the processing costs associated with donating venison to food banks.
A $100,000 subsidy grant has been awarded to FHFH to help pay the processing fee on donated venison. The grant money is to be matched with funds generated or collected by FHFH. The ODNR Division of Wildlife is again subsidizing this year's FHFH operation as an additional deer management tool, helping wildlife managers encourage hunters to kill more does.
“I became the first Ohio local FHFH coordinator in 2002 and since then the number of chapters has risen to 27,” said Allen Dunlap, Northwest Ohio FHFH. “Our volunteer organization can still use help since a large part of the state is without coordinators or meat processors.”
Anyone interested in becoming a local Ohio FHFH coordinator or a participating meat processor should visit the local FHFH page at fhfh.org. The current list of coordinators along with their program names and the counties they are serving can be found there.
Prospective volunteers or meat processors can contact one of the existing coordinators to discuss time commitment or any other questions they might have about becoming a FHFH coordinator or meat processor.
Responsibilities of a local coordinator include:
--Organizing a network of at least one inspected, insured meat processor to cut, package, and freeze the donated deer and one food bank or feeding ministry to distribute the meat to the hungry.
--Developing a fundraising plan to raise the money needed to cover the meat processing and other local program expenses. FHFH will help select some fundraising events and projects to work on. Individuals, businesses, churches, clubs and other organizations can also be directly contacted for support.
--Promoting the program so that people can learn about FHFH and become involved as supporters and/or volunteers.
FHFH began in Maryland in 1997 after founder Rick Wilson encountered a woman along a Virginia highway looking for help loading a road-killed deer into her car to feed her children. Inspired to give hunters the opportunity to help feed the hungry, Wilson formed a program that would raise money to pay the butchering bills for hunters that donate deer.
Now over a decade old, FHFH has grown to include 140 local coordinators in 29 different states. Annual meat donation totals have topped 319,000 pounds—enough to provide meat for over 1.27 million meals—and are expected to increase even further in the coming years.
For more information, contact: Josh Wilson, FHFH Operations Director at (866)438-3434; Pete Banks, Northeast Ohio FHFH at (440)988-5495; Allen Dunlap, West and Northwest Ohio FHFH at (419)466-4143; Dewey Thompson, South and Southeast Ohio FHFH at (440)623-0859; or Beth Ruth, ODNR Media Relations at (614)265-6860.