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November 22, 1999

For more information contact:
Fred Carlson at 609-292-6685

According to the New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife, the NORWESCAP Food Bank, the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and the New Jersey Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs, Garden State hunters have donated more than 30,000 pounds of venison to local food banks this year through the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program. The program, a non-profit endeavor coordinated by the above organizations, oversees the distribution of sportsmen-donated venison to feeding programs throughout the state.

"Hunters have really taken the initiative to provide for the less fortunate in their communities," said Division Director Bob McDowell. "In fact, hunter participation has been so overwhelmingly successful that the program is in need of additional funding."

"The entire program relies on donations -- donations of venison, as well as monetary contributions for processing costs," said NORWESCAP Food Bank Director Cathy Rummel. "We're hoping that in keeping with the holiday spirit, individuals will not forget the hungry when considering donations for the needy."

Sportsmen and women who donate deer to the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program are asked (but not required) to provide a contribution to help offset the cost of butchering. While venison donations have been impressive, monetary contributions have not kept the same pace.

"Sharing the harvest from a successful hunt is a hunter's tradition that is linked back to early civilization," said Federation President Frank Bitner. "It's wonderful to see all the venison being donated but unfortunately, we are falling short on funds for processing. Please consider donating your harvest as well as a small monetary contribution to help offset butchering costs."

Expanded deer seasons, particularly in the agricultural areas of Hunterdon, Warren and Mercer counties (Zones 7, 8, 10, 11, 12 and 41), have led to the phenomenal success of the program. Sportsmen and women who hunt in these areas were asked to make an extra effort to harvest antlerless deer and donate their surplus to the program. Liberal seasons in other parts of the state have helped as well.

Currently, there is a supplemental appropriations bill in state government, a portion of which would provide funding the expenses associated with the Hunters Helping the Hungry Program. However, even if approved this year, funding would not be available for some time.

Hunters should take note that the following butchers have agreed to participate in the program. Please call ahead, as certain exceptions may apply.

A & A Country Butchers, Washington

John Person, Lebanon

Bishop's Market, Whitehouse Station

V. Roche & Son, Whitehouse Station

The Meat Factory, Allentown

Pounds & Ounces, Tuckerton

To donate toward deer processing fees, please make checks payable to the: Northwest New Jersey Community Action Program (NORWESCAP) Food Bank Venison Fund, 201 N. Broad Street, Phillipsburg, NJ 08865 or the Food Bank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties Venison Fund, 516 Passaic Avenue, Spring Lake, NJ 07762. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.