Hunters help the hungry

Published 1:05 am Saturday, October 22, 2011

A favorite pastime and growing problem in the Black Belt are coming together this fall with the help of local deer processors.

Hunters Helping the Hungry, a program that provides processed deer meat to local food banks, announced Central Alabama Deer Processing, Nichol’s Deer Processing and Weaver Deer Processing all plan to participate in the program, which will provide food for the Millers Childers Food Pantry on J.L. Chestnut Boulevard.

Joining the cause, Kathy Weaver, owner of Weaver Processing said, was an easy choice. In fact, she said they have already received the first donated deer of the season.

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“We did our first one (Thursday) night,” she said. “It will have to sit a few days, but we’ll have it done Monday or Tuesday.”

The program, Nichol’s Deer Processing’s William Frith said, is effective because it allows hunters to continue to hit the woods after their freezers are full without any wasted meat.

“There are a lot of hunters that kill the deer they want for themselves, but they still want to hunt,” he said. “This way, they can drop off the deer they don’t want and it will go to the area food pantry and helps feed the needy in Dallas County that otherwise wouldn’t have any meat to eat.”

The state pays processors for the meat as well, which helps their bottom line.

The process for hunters to participate is simple. Hunters field dress the deer and take it to a processor participating in the Alabama Hunters Helping the Hungry program.

The hunter is not charged to donate the venison, but hunters may voluntarily pay processing fees to provide more venison for food pantries to distribute.

The deer is processed into ground venison, packaged and frozen in quantities not exceeding four pounds. The processed venison is distributed to the nearest participating food pantry. The processor receives $1 per pound from the Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation for their work. The food pantry then picks up the venison..

Now, more than ever, Weaver said it is important to be a part of this program.

“Due to the economy, we realize how important it is to keep your children fed,” she said. “Nobody should not be able to have dinner. We want to do our part to help out.”

Central Alabama Deer Processing is located at 4343 Alabama Hwy. 41 South and can be contacted at 418-8560. Nichol’s Deer Processing is located at 528 J.L. Chestnut Blvd. and can be contacted at 875-1333. Weaver Processing is at 57 County Rd. 21, and the number is 996-8600.
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