Hunters for the Hungry: Statewide program allows hunters to donate deer meat to those in need

Friday, Dec. 13, 2019
News 12 at 6 O'Clock

Deer meat is stored here within Garner's Grinder in 5-pound bundles before being donated. (Source: WRDW)

SPARTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- A business in Sparta is helping feed the hungry by participating in a statewide program.

Hunters for the Hungry is a Georgia program that's been around since 1993. It's a way for hunters to give back to those in need by bringing meat to their tables. One of the deer meat processors who participate in Hunters for the Hungry is Garner's Grinder.

The Sparta processor has donated about 1,200 pounds of fresh meat each year for the past 16 years. David Garner tells News 12 his customers love having the chance to give back.

"Some of them say, 'I always do my first deer.' Or they always do at least one [deer] a year," Garner said.

When he gets a donation, Garner tells us he grinds the meat, separates it into 5-pound packs, and gives it to the Georgia Wildlife Federation, who then sends it to Golden Harvest Food Bank.

"Last year we received 1,115 lbs. and since 2017 a total of 3,087 lbs. of meat through the Hunters for the Hungry program. Hunters can drop off meat at any of the locations listed on the site between October 19th and January 12th, and the meat is then sent to Food Banks across the state of Georgia," said Ann Snyder, with Golden Harvest.

The program is also happening in South Carolina.

Some experts say venison can be a healthier alternative to other types of meat. It is rich in protein and low in fat. Deer meat is free of carbohydrates and contains fewer calories than beef or even chicken breast. It is also naturally organic and "free-range" with no added antibiotics or hormones.

The Hunters for the Hungry program doesn't just benefit people living with food insecurity. It also helps to control the deer population. ​In 2018-2019, 14,133 pounds of meat were given to food banks across Georgia, and more than 56,000 meals were provided with that meat.

Hunters interested in participating in this program can check out the drop-off locations in the map below. The drop-off opportunity ends on Jan. 12th.

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