BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Hunters Helping the Hungry has provided more than a half-million pounds of ground venison to those in need in Alabama. Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH) started in Alabama in 1999 through funding derived from the Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation, which is chaired by Chris Blankenship, Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (ADCNR). The Foundation pays processors in Alabama $1 per pound for the ground venison, which is then donated to food banks and charities in Alabama.
Commissioner Blankenship and Pam Swanner, ALBBAA Director, said the impact of the global pandemic has increased the need for donations of protein-rich venison for those impacted by the virus.
“We know this past year has been difficult for many, and we hope this will continue providing healthy, organic ground venison to families in need all across the Black Belt region,” Swanner said. “Especially with the impact of COVID-19, we couldn’t think of a better way to encourage sportsmen and women to utilize this free program to support the areas in which they go afield.”
Commissioner Blankenship said Alabama’s deer herd provides a bountiful resource that can be shared in this time of need. “I think Hunters Helping the Hungry is a great program,” Commissioner Blankenship said. “We have such a healthy population of deer in our state. A lot of landowners need to harvest more does off their property to keep the deer herd in balance. When the freezer is full, this a great opportunity to manage your deer and donate the harvested animals to Hunters Helping the Hungry, which then donates the venison to the food banks to help those in need. We want to make sure there is no waste in the harvest of these deer.”
“With the COVID situation and food banks being relied on by a lot of people to provide their protein and sustenance, it’s a great opportunity for deer hunters in the state to make sure those food banks are stocked with good meat to help the people in those communities.”
Because the processing fee is paid by the ACNRF, there is no cost to the hunters.
“All they have to do is drop the deer off at one of the participating processors with a Game Check confirmation number, and the processor takes care of the deer and sends it to the food bank,” Commissioner Blankenship said. “It’s a win-win for everybody.”
Currently, eight processors are participating in the HHH program within the Black Belt with 15 food banks participating within the region. The participating processors are Buckster’s Deer Processing in Montgomery County, Green’s Deer Processing in Clarke County, M & S Wildlife Services in Choctaw County, Nichols Deer Processing in Dallas County, Richey’s Deer Processing in Hale County, John’s Deer Processing in Lee County, Milliron’s Deer Processing in Russell County, and Venison LLC in Wilcox County.
Those who donate a deer to the HHH program during the designated food drive and tag Alabama Black Belt Adventures on Facebook or Instagram will be entered into a random drawing for an antler mount from Foster’s Taxidermy Supply in Montgomery.
For a full list of participating processors and food banks statewide, visit https://www.outdooralabama.com/programs/hunters-helping-hungry.
The ALBBAA’s mission is to promote and enhance outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in the Black Belt in a manner which provides economic and ecological benefits to the region and its citizens. Visit www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org for more information on the outdoors opportunities and cultural heritage in the Black Belt.