Local Deer Processors Impacted by COVID-19—Hunters Advised to Plan Ahead

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posted on September 17, 2020
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Deer hunters who rely on the services of local butcher shops and meat markets for their processing needs may be impacted this fall by the COVID-19 pandemic. This could also affect those who plan to donate venison to programs set up to feed those in need. NRA Hunters for the Hungry plays a key role in this nationwide charitable effort by maintaining a state-by-state database of processors and supporting groups. The easy-to-use website guides hunters, whose generosity annually accounts for hundreds of thousands of pounds of donated healthy venison going to homeless shelters, soup kitchens and food banks. For contact info in your state, go to: hfth.nra.org

One NRA partner in this worthy cause, Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH), a venison-donation ministry based in Hagerstown, Md., is now advising would-be donors to any hunters-for-the-hungry program—along with those who opt to have their own deer processed professionally—to avoid frustrating surprises by checking with their local butchers for any changes in their operations.

“The impact of COVID-19 on some of the larger commercial processing plants across the country has had a trickle-down impact on many local butchers and meat markets,” said FHFH Executive Director Josh Wilson. “There are some meat-processing locations that are completely booked with livestock until well into the new year—and as a result, some have opted to pause the deer-processing portion of their business until they are caught up. With more people than usual depending on food-assistance programs and ministries due to the pandemic, we are encouraging all hunters to plan ahead and make sure they can continue to donate their deer this season.”

While the situation is not expected to impact all areas, hunters who find their local butcher is no longer handling deer at all this season, may be able to consult hfth.nra.org for an alternate donation location in their area.

NRA Hunters for the Hungry reports that across the country, more than 8.1 million meals totaling about 2.1 million pounds of meat are donated every year. Since 1997, FHFH has distributed nearly 21 million servings of nutritious food. Financial support from individuals, businesses, churches, organizations, and foundations enables FHFH to pay participating butchers a discounted rate to process and package deer and livestock donated by hunters and farmers. Those interested in volunteering and learning more can visit fhfh.org, or call toll-free 866-438-3434.

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