Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Hunters for the Hungry program ended this season providing more than 569,000 servings of lean protein to Tennesseans in need.

Hunters for the Hungry feeds Tennessee families and children in need by providing hunger relief organizations—such as local food banks and soup kitchens—with venison donated by generous deer hunters.

Since 1998, the program has collected and shared more than 8.2 million servings of venison to Tennessee’s hungriest.

This season, a total of 142,450 pounds of venison was donated, providing Tennessee’s hungriest with more than 569,000 servings of healthy protein. These numbers represent a near-record year.

“COVID created meat shortages in grocery stores, meaning many deer hunters needed to keep more of their harvest. At the same time, some processors switched to handling livestock as small farms ramped up production,” said Matt Simcox, Hunters for the Hungry manager. “Our generous hunters and processors worked double time to overcome these hurdles to make sure their fellow Tennesseans were fed, including some who were facing food insecurity for the first time during the pandemic.” 

Each year, the Federation provides tens of thousands of dollars to cover the cost of processing donated deer.

In addition to providing servings of protein this season, the program also delivered 11,500 snack sticks—a ready-to-eat protein snack—to the Room In The Inn and Bridge Ministries in Middle Tennessee where they were distributed to school backpack programs.

In partnership with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA), Hunters for the Hungry tested every deer donated within Unit CWD (Chronic Wasting Disease) for the disease.

Learn more about Hunters for the Hungry at tnwf.org/HuntersForTheHungry. If you’re interested in becoming a Hunters for the Hungry processor for the upcoming deer season, please contact Simcox at msimcox@tnwf.org.