Hunters for the Hungry
For some hunters, deer hunting season is more than a chance to pursue their favorite pastime. It’s also an opportunity to help others. Barry Simmons tells us about a unique partnership that pairs outdoorsmen with food pantries so they can share their surplus.
(Locator: Bolivar, Tennessee)
Larry Ross is hunting for food. Not for him, but for those who can’t afford it.
Larry Ross/Hunters for the Hungry Participant: “Here you go, see right there?”
This deer, he says, will feed 160 people.
Larry Ross/Hunters for the Hungry Participant: “This one deer…not bad is it?”
Larry’s group, Hunters for the Hungry, has been serving up venison to thousands ever since he brought the program to Bolivar, Tennessee.
They’re solving two problems at once. In an area with more deer than people, hunters are helping to thin out one population and nourish another.
All hunters have to do is bring the deer to a processor. Larry’s church, Bolivar First United Methodist, pays to have it prepared.
Larry Ross/Hunters for the Hungry Participant: “They said, ‘Hey, that’s a great idea. Let’s give it a shot.’ And it happened.”
Since they started two years ago, church members have raised eight thousand dollars…enough for thirty-two thousand meals. So much, this food pantry had to install extra freezers just to hold it all.
Bill Kirk/Loaves and Fishes Volunteer: “We’ve got about 700 pounds of deer meat in here.”
Larry Ross/Hunters for the Hungry Participant: “I’ve been in places where I’ve barely had my nose above the water line, and people have helped me. And I think that’s what we’re doing.”
Tennessee reflects national hunger statistics: nearly twenty percent of the elderly go to bed hungry…eleven percent of children.
Larry Ross/Hunters for the Hungry Participant: “We hope ya’ll enjoy that. Ok?”
These children received enough venison to keep them eating for weeks.
Oshanda Henderson/Venison Recipient: “It keeps us from buying it, so yeah, it helps.”
A gift from hunters making sure no one goes hungry.
Hunters for the Hungry is a statewide program run by the Tennessee Wildlife Federation. Several other states have similar programs.
This year, the group awarded Larry and his partners at the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church its presidential award for their outstanding work.
For more information on the Hunters for the Hungry program, contact the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church at 731-664-8480 or log onto the Tennessee Wildlife Federation Web site.