From the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
-- Hunter-donated venison to the West Virginia Hunters Helping the Hungry Program this season will put the total number of meals over the lifetime of the program to surpass one million.
HHH is a DNR-sponsored program allowing hunters to donate venison from legally-harvested white-tailed deer to needy West Virginians during the various fall hunting seasons.
"We are ecstatic that the HHH Program has enjoyed so much success since it began in 1992," Program Coordinator Jerry Westfall said.
"Thanks to generous West Virginia hunters who donated deer to the HHH Program over the years, many needy West Virginians have received highly nutritious meals. The DNR, along with the partners, Mountaineer Food Bank and Huntington Area Food Bank, truly appreciate the generosity shown by these hunters and acknowledge that without their help, this program could not exist."
Under the program, 2-pound packages of ground venison are collected from participating certified processors by Mountaineer Food Bank in Gassaway and the Huntington Area Food Bank. The food banks then distribute packaged ground venison to participating distribution centers such as food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, community centers, churches, orphanages and other institutions that provide the needy with highly-nutritious venison meals.
Although it may be too late for non-enrolled distribution centers to receive venison in 2010 because of the minimum 60-day application review process, those interested are encouraged to enroll now so they may receive venison starting in the winter 2011. Organizations can contact Mountaineer Food Bank at (304)364-5518 to discuss the application process needed to receive venison.
"We are grateful for hunter-donated deer, and the HHH Program still requires monetary donations to offset processing and distribution costs," Westfall said.
The DNR is restricted from using sportsmen's license dollars to fund the program. It is dependent upon monetary donations by concerned individuals, businesses, conservation organizations, foundations, churches, and fund-raising events such as the Governor's One Shot Hunt. "Without donated monetary funding, we could not continue," Westfall said.
The DNR accepts monetary donations to the HHH Program year round; visit www.wvdnr.gov/Hunting/HHH.shtm online, call Billie Shearer at (304)558-277, or send an email to Billie.J.Shearer@wv.gov.
Hunters can also consult the website or pick up an HHH brochure at DNR offices to locate participating meat processors in the state. For HHH Program general information, contact Program Coordinator Jerry Westfall at (304)558-277 or email Jerry.A.Westfall@wv.gov.