SOCIAL CIRCLE — Since 1993, hunters have been bringing meat to the tables of those in need through the Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program. This successful program celebrated serving its one-millionth meal in 2007 and continues to provide opportunities during hunting season for hunters to share their harvest with those in need.
This year, hunters can donate deer at 15 participating processors now through Jan. 15.
"The Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program is one opportunity for hunters to demonstrate their generosity by sharing their harvest with those in need," said John Bowers, Wildlife Resources Division assistant chief of game management. "The division is proud to be a cooperator in this public-private partnership and to work with the many partners who make it possible each year."
Wildlife Resources, the Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Department of Agriculture, Georgia Wildlife Federation and the Georgia State Association of Food Banks, sponsors the program.
Thanks to these partners, the efforts of Georgia hunters and participating meat processors, just last year nearly 30,000 pounds of venison were collected, processed and distributed to food banks across the state. This meat provided more than 150,000 meals for needy Georgians. Since the program’s inception in 1993, more than 257,000 pounds of venison have been donated.
Hunters interested in participating in the program can bring field-dressed deer to any designated drop-off location. All hunters who donate a deer during this collection period will be entered into a drawing for a deer rifle, sponsored by the Georgia Wildlife Federation.
New this year, the Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program has extended donation opportunities to include the "Drop Back a Pack" program. This new opportunity allows hunters to donate some of their processed venison when they visit the processor to pick up their meat. All participating program processors will have a freezer indicating where hunters can "Drop Back a Pack" for the program.
The following 15 processor locations will accept deer or commercially processed venison until Jan. 15 during business hours:
• Milledgeville: Wright’s Deer and Wild Hog Processing, (478) 452-4228.
• Vidalia: Stewart’s Quality Meat, Inc., (912) 537-9888
For more information on donating food to those in need during other times of the year, call the Atlanta Community Food Bank at (404) 892-FEED. For more information on the Georgia Hunters for the Hungry program, go to www.gohuntgeorgia.com, www.gwf.org, contact a WRD game management office or call (770) 761-3045.