SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (October 19, 2007) – The season of giving starts early in Georgia’s hunting circles. Months before the canned foods are collected and the winter coats are dispersed, hunters have already hit the woods for a good cause. The Georgia Hunters for the Hungry (GHFTH) program begins each September with the start of deer season, offering hunters across the state an opportunity to donate low-fat, low-cholesterol venison to benefit those in need. Participating processors collect and prepare the highly nutritious venison for distribution via the Georgia State Association of Food Banks. Over the past 15 years, participation has steadily increased and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) proudly recognizes a recent donation on Sat., Oct. 13, representing the one-millionth meal to be served through this successful program.
“This recent donation of a harvested deer, which will give us the ability to make the one-millionth meal, marks a milestone in Georgia’s Hunters for the Hungry Program,” says WRD Director Dan Forster. “On average, over the past 15 years, this program has provided more than 65,000 meals per year to hungry Georgians.”
Georgia hunter James Pirkle of Buford donated the deer which will ultimately represent the one-millionth meal served through the GHFTH program. The donation was made at Sealey’s Deer Cooler in Jefferson. WRD, the Georgia Wildlife Federation and the Athens branch of the Georgia State Association of Food Banks were on hand to recognize Mr. Pirkle’s humanitarian effort. The Georgia Wildlife Federation awarded him a millionth meal hunter’s prize pack for his generous donation.
Hunters can tip the donation scale to more than one million meals served by participating in the upcoming Oct. 27-28 weekend collection event. Hunters can bring field-dressed deer to any of the drop-off locations listed below. Seven weekend collection sites (in addition to the eight processors participating Sept. 8, 2007 – Jan. 1, 2008) are available from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 27-28, 2007.
The following seven locations will receive donations during the weekend collection:
• Social Circle – WRCC building on U.S. Hwy. 278; 1.5 miles north of Exit 101 off I-20
• Perry – The Sports Center, 1444 Sam Nunn Blvd.; Exit 136 off I-75
• Newnan – Royal Baptist Church; Hwy. 34 bypass N to Royal Mayo Rd.
• Dawsonville – Georgia Forestry Commission – Dawson Forest Unit/Hightower Educational Forest, adjacent to the Etowah River, 1.5 west of GA 400 on GA 53W
• Rockmart – Lamar’s Sports Center, 392 Atlanta Highway
• Rome – Lavender Mountain Hardware, 4065 Martha Berry Hwy., NW
• Richmond Hill – Plantation Lumber & Hardware, 10829 Ford Ave.
The following eight processor locations are accepting deer from Sept. 8 – Jan. 1 during regular business hours:
• Hoboken – Big Creek Sausage Co., Inc., Rt. 1, Box 146-A, (912) 458-2120
• Jefferson – Sealey’s Deer Cooler, 5675 South Apple Valley Road, (706) 335-9304
• Sparta – Garner’s Grinder, Rt. 3, Box 464-2, (706) 444-9228
• Columbus – Daffin’s Meat Processing, 4100 ½ River Bend Road, (706) 322-8848
• Irwinton – Starley’s Deer Processing, 190 George Hatcher Road, (478) 946-8976
• Vidalia – Stewart’s Quality Meats, 204 Washington Street, (912) 537-9888
• Tifton – Safety-Rite Foods, 147 Ridge Avenue S, (229) 382-1242
• Douglasville – Douglasville Retail Meat & Smokehouse, 3749 Kings Hwy., (770) 947-6624
All hunters who donate a deer during this collection period will be entered into a drawing for a deer rifle, sponsored by Georgia Wildlife Federation.
WRD, along with Georgia Wildlife Federation, the Georgia Dept. of Corrections, the Georgia Dept. of Agriculture and the Georgia State Association of Food Banks sponsors the program, making the annual collection and distribution of venison possible.
For more information on the GHFTH program, visit www.gohuntgeorgia.com , contact a WRD Game Management Office or call (770) 761-3045. For more information on donating food to those in need during other times of the year, call the Atlanta Community Food Bank at (404) 892-FEED.