POMEROY — A total of 235 pounds of venison (deer meat), all nicely packaged and marked, was loaded into an empty freezer at the Meigs Cooperative Parish Wednesday afternoon to be distributed to Meigs Countians who are experiencing a shortage of food for their families.
Chris Gilkey, Meigs County’s Division of Wildlife officer, made the delivery. Don Shaffer, Parish chairman, welcomed the contribution which he said will help replenish the food supply diminished by the Christmas distribution to about 250 families. Gilkey explained that the venison came as a donation from a local hunter who wanted to contribute to the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry program. In emphasizing the importance of the program, he noted that one deer can feed 200 hungry people.
The wildlife officer stressed that only certified processors can prepare the meat for delivery to agency food programs such as the Parish operates. Currently there is only one certified processor in the county, Little John’s Processing, located on Reibel Road, Long Bottom. However, he expects another to be certified next year. Gilkey explained that hunters who kill a deer and want to donate it to the Feeding the Hungry program, can take it to Little John’s for processing at no cost to them or the Parish. He also noted that while there is a program where processors can be paid for their services, Little John’s chooses not to participate.
“One of the nicest things about this program,” said Gilkey, “is that the meat from deer killed locally, stays right here in the county.”
He noted that the Meigs Cooperative Parish was selected as the distributor for the venison because of its ongoing food distribution program and community involvement. He adding that, “all packaged deer meat donated to the Parish has to be given away.”
Since many hunters hunt for the sport of getting a deer and not the meat, and since deer meat cannot be sold but only given away, the Feeding the Hungry program provides a way for them to give to disadvantaged families, said Gilkey. He added that the Division of Wildlife encourages hunters to use their tags to benefit others, and said that in Meigs County a hunter can harvest as many as six in a year. Donating the deer to a certified processor was described by Gilkey as a “win-win situation for everyone ….we’re helping each other.”
Gun season has come and gone, muzzleloader season is from Jan. 5 to 8, and archery season is in and doesn’t end until Feb. 3.
It isn’t too late to participate in the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) program and to contribute toward alleviating hunger problems which exist right here in Meigs County, Gilkey concluded.