Calling all local hunters! Did you know you can give back to the community by donating deer to feed the hungry?
Guy & Judy Gardner have opened a donation site at 4503 Ross Road, Lillington, where hunters may drop off legally harvested deer during the fall hunting season. The site is sponsored by the South Wake Conservationists (SWC), a chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation (NCWF).
The Gardners are partnering with Noble Meats, a Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-inspected meat processor in Spring Lake that has been pre-qualified to participate in the NC Hunters for the Hungry program. Noble Meats will process the deer meat, which will then be distributed to the Harnett Food Pantry in Lillington where it will be made available to hungry families in Harnett County.
“The goal is to create opportunities for communities to work together in managing deer numbers and getting that meat back into the community to serve a need,” said Mrs. Gardner.
She said she and her husband began accepting donations last year during Hurricane Matthew.
“We worked with our neighbors and friends and collected 19 deer,” she said. “When we saw the interest, we went back to Hunters for the Hungry and they agreed to help us set up a facility in Lillington.”
The NCWF Farmers and Communities Manage Deer Program is designed to bring together farmers, sportsmen and community groups to sustainably manage white-tailed deer, reduce deer damage to crops, increase local farm and community revenue and provide hunter-harvested venison to local food banks and shelters. It is a collaborative effort with NC Hunters for the Hungry, with financial support from the NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.
The program is responsible for around 13,000 pounds of venison donated each year to feed the hungry in North Carolina communities. Ground venison has proven to be a favorite of many food relief organizations because it is a high quality, natural protein source and versatile to use.
The Lillington site is one of 23 participating locations and the only donation point in Harnett County or any of the surrounding counties.
For more information about the Lillington deer donation site or to sign on as a community champion for the site, contact Guy and Judy Gardner at (919) 250-8441.
For more information about the NCWF Farmers and Communities Manage Deer Program, go to ncwf.org/programs/farmers-manage-deer.
Individuals and businesses can also make charitable donations to this 501(c)3 non-profit initiative. Donations are used to reimburse meat processors for their expenses and may be tax deductible. Every $50 donation to NC Hunters for the Hungry will provide high quality protein for an average of 160 meals. Designated funds to “SWC” will ensure that your donation is reserved for this area. Go to www.nchuntersforthehungry.org for donation instructions.