Campbell-Jones takes over Hunters for the Hungry in Natchez
NATCHEZ — Who knew hunting deer could be such a good cause for the local community?
The Hunters for the Hungry program had the bright idea to make hunting and fishing not just a recreational sport, but a way to give back to the needy.
Richard Campbell started the Louisiana chapter of Hunters for the Hungry 20 years ago, and what started as a small effort to feed a few mouths, has turned into hundreds of thousands of happy stomachs across the state.
Now with several locations all over Louisiana, including Ferriday, Campbell has extended his efforts to Mississippi with the first location in Natchez.
With more than 15 Louisiana locations, Campbell needed a little help maintaining the Mississippi areas, and there was no one better to pass the torch to than his daughter, Judith Campbell-Jones.
Campbell-Jones said there are two major reasons why she decided to become involved in Hunters for the Hungry.
“I wanted to help my dad, because he has been working really hard (with Hunters for the Hungry) over the years,” Campbell-Jones said. “It has been a lot of weight on his shoulders. Plus, I want to give back.”
Campbell-Jones said she has been a part of Hunters for the Hungry for more than 10 years, but really didn’t take the initiative in the organization until earlier this year.
Hunters for the Hungry gives a chance for local hunters to feel even better about the game they’ve shot by giving them a place to bring their excess meat.
The average household eats two to three full deer in a year’s time. If a hunter lucks up with four or five deer in one season, there is a better option than letting the excess meat sit in the freezer.
Hunters for the Hungry have teamed up with meet processing companies in the local area so hunters can take their meat straight to the processors, who then clean and package the meat before sending it to local charities like the Stewpot and the Natchez Children’s Home.
The two Natchez processing locations are Dunn’s Processing and Natchez Deer Processing.
“During the hunting season, a person comes in (to the processing factory) and says ‘I want to donate this meat to the Hunters for the Hungry,’ and the processors handle the meat and call the Stewpot or the Natchez Children’s Home and say ‘Hey, we’ve got some meat for you,’” Campbell-Jones said.
Last year, Hunters for the Hungry brought in 46 deer to the Natchez Deer Processing, Campbell said that was enough to feed 11,000 mouths.
Campbell-Jones said between deer season and Christmas coming up, this time of the year is great for hunters to help out.
“Around the holidays is deer season, so we get a surge in meat and we’re always looking for more meat and more charities to give to,” Campbell-Jones said. “This is probably the most helpful time for people during the holidays.”
Hunters for the Hungry is also in the process of getting a bill passed in Louisiana so hunters can have a chance to donate to the organization as they purchase their hunting licenses.
The organization is trying to find new and innovative ways to help as many people and feed as many mouths as they possibly can, and with Campbell-Jones now in charge of the Natchez area, Hunters for the Hungry is planning to move full steam ahead.