Phillip over at the Hog Blog created a challenge and Kristine over at the Hunt Smart, Think Safety Blog thought it would be great if we all responded to that challenge.  The challenge is to write an article talking about all the good things that hunters are doing in society today and to pick one that we appreciated and respected and share it with our readers.Read more about some great programs that I found here in Virginia that I am proud to support and in some cases volunteer for.

HUNTERS FOR THE HUNGRY 

Hunters for the Hungry  was started in Virginia in 1991 and in  the years between 1991 and 2007 over 3 million pounds of deer meat has been distributed throughout Virginia to those in need.  Lets think about that for a moment.  The average deer in Virginia weighs about 140 lbs with about a third or so going to donation.  Every pound of meat has had to be butchered, wrapped and distributed statewide.  Currently there are more deer donated then the organization can pay to process and distribute statewide.

Hunters for the Hungry was founded by:

…David was employed as general manager of the Society of St. Andrew (another nonprofit feeding organization) up until 1993. The primary program of that group is to salvage and distribute produce on a nationwide basis. In 1991, he discovered a “Hunters for the Hungry” type program operating in Texas. It seemed to be a functional concept and so David set off to establish a similar program in his home state of Virginia. After two years of explosive growth the decision was made to create a separate organization to concentrate on expanding the Hunters for the Hungry program. In January of 1993, Laura Newell-Furniss and David Horne established the present organization.

David is 1974 graduate of Washington & Lee University. He and his wife, Debbie (herself a successful hunter), are very involved in outdoor recreation. David’s involvement with Hunters for the Hungry has provided opportunities for involvement in a wide variety of outdoor organizations and civic groups including: Board of directors- Virginia Wildlife Crimeline; State Field Director- Virginia Deer Hunters Association; member- Big Island Ruritan Club; Virginia long range deer management planning committee; member- Virginia Outdoor Writers Association; life member- North American Hunting Club; Hunter Education Instructor -VDG&IF; and member- Pope & Young Club.

In early 2002 David lost a long battle to cancer. He will be sorely missed. His wife Debbie has stepped in to work with Laura and the work of Hunters for the Hungry continues. Go HERE to read a tribute to David Horne . Laura Newell-Furniss enjoys helping others. She’s been the assistant director of Hunters for the Hungry since the programs birth in 1991. Prior to teaming up with David Horne, Laura was employed as the office manager for The Society of St. Andrew (a national feeding program), a teacher at The Old Dominion Job Corps Center, and a teacher’s aide at The Florence Crittenton Center (a residential facility for emotionally disturbed teenage girls). Laura holds a Bachelors degree in Special Education from Lynchburg College, and an Associates degree in Child Development from Musingum Area Technical College in Ohio. She’s married to a wonderful person, Butch Furniss and the couple have a delightful daughter named Danielle. When not working with Hunters for the Hungry, Laura enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, exercising, volunteering at her daughter’s school and peer counseling.According to Laura: “My interest in the Hunters for the Hungry program comes from growing up in poverty and being taught early on – waste not want not. Growing up in a rural area my father and brothers provided a lot of food for the table through hunting. We ate a wide variety of wild game and were thankful to have it. It means a lot to me to be involved with a program that is providing food to people who are going through tough economic times. The hunters we work with are very generous in providing venison. The struggle for us remains in raising the funds to cover the processing fees on the donated venison.”

Today Hunters for the Hungry holds banquets, raffles and sells items on its websites while soliciting direct donations from Virginia businesses.  There are many many people who work hard to make this happen.  A simple idea turned into a program that distributes over 360,000 pounds of meat(in 2007) to hungry citizens across the country provided for by actual hunters.  Thousands of hunters have donated deer to this program and thousands of people in the state of Virginia have donated funds to keep this program funded and working in the state.

I had the pleasure of listening to a great man this February who let us know that we needed to get out there and DO SOMETHING.  These people are definitely doing something great and I urge all of you to reach into your pockets and donate to this organization or one in your home state just like it.

If this isn’t the organization for you to donate your hard earned funds or time to, then go create one or look into our resources tab for conservation organizations and find one that suits your needs.