Hunters helping outPublished 12:02am Sunday, November 25, 2012
NATCHEZ — Miss-Lou hunters who have tasted their fill of venison this season, but still find themselves harvesting more and more deer now have a way to continue their favorite pastime while helping out their community.
A cooperation between local businesses, food processors and non-profit groups has made it possible for Hunter’s for the Hungry to accept harvested deer donations that will help feed members of the community in need.
Hunters for the Hungry began in Louisiana and is well established in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, La., and is now trying to establish itself in southwest Mississippi, chairman Richard Campbell said.
“We hope to use Natchez more as a starting point to go into more counties and parishes,” Campbell said. “Hopefully more business will do what places like Concordia Bank has done and step in and help us feed the hungry.”
Concordia Bank, Kelly’s Kids, United Mississippi Bank and Biglane Operating are a few of the local businesses that have stepped into support Hunters for the Hungry.
The businesses provide the funding for processing the deer or hog meat, and several local meat processors — Dunn Deer Market, Poole Processing, Raley’s Processing and Natchez Deer Shop — process the deer and send them to non-profits like the Stewpot, Natchez Children’s Home, Pentecostals of the Miss-Lou and Holy Family Catholic Church.
“(Hunter’s for the Hungry) is really important,” Stewpot director Louis Gunning said. “We do all our business on deer with Dunn’s Deer Market, and he for at least the last five years, he’s given us a lot of meat. (Campbell) predicts we will get a lot this year, so far we’ve gotten one, but the season just started.”
Meat is always tough for the Stewpot to keep on hand, Gunning said.
“Meat is always the biggest cost item and the hardest to come by,” he said. “The deer meat given to us is great.”
Carl Dunn of Dunn Deer Market said he is glad to be a part of the project and hopes to see deer rolling in for him to send to the Stewpot.
“I’m not much of a hunter anymore. I don’t have time,” Dunn said. “But this is a big hunting community, and we hope to get some to send.”
Gunning said there are a variety of things the Stewpot chefs can do with deer meat, but they usually use it in a stew with gravy.
The program is now huge in Baton Rouge, and Campbell said he hopes to see it continue to grow across the state of Mississippi.
Approximately 10 signs have been placed around the Miss-Lou to let hunters know that the program exists and what processors are participating.
Campbell said deer, hogs and fish are the main foods Hunters for the Hungry want for donation.
For more information on Hunters for the Hungry contact Campbell at 225-921-4582.