CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice today presented a $50,000 check to the Mountaineer Food Bank to assist in their efforts to feed West Virginia families in need through the Hunters Helping the Hungry program.
The check was courtesy of the “Governor’s One Shot Hunt” – an antlerless deer hunting event held in the Fall of 2019 that provides a source of fundraising and provides thousands of pounds of venison for the Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH) program that helps needy families across the state. HHH is sponsored by the Division of Natural Resources.
Gov. Justice presented the check during a ceremony at the State Capitol.
“I’m a lifelong hunter and deer are one of our wonderful natural resources,” Gov. Justice said. “So many people really enjoy the hunting experience in West Virginia, but the appetite for venison might not be there. So this gives them a fantastic alternative while helping those that really need it.”
Hunters who decide to participate in the program take their deer to a participating meat processor, where the processor grinds, packages and freezes the venison. From there, participating food banks pick up the venison and distribute it to the needy through their statewide network of 600 charitable food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, shelters, community centers, orphanages, missions, and churches.
There is considerable interest in the program, but the DNR is restricted from using sportsmen’s license dollars to fund the program. Therefore, the DNR must rely on the generosity of concerned individuals, businesses, conservation organizations, foundations, and churches.
One of the largest sources of fundraising is the annual “One Shot” initiative. Now in its 13th year, the hunt has raised more than $700,000 in support of the HHH program.
Meanwhile, the HHH program itself has been around for 29 years. In that time, more than 26,000 deer have been brought in and more than 1 million pounds of venison have been processed, adding up to approximately 1.385 million meals worth of meat for families across West Virginia over nearly three decades.
“Many, many people are really thankful,” Gov. Justice said. “We thank you so much for all you’re doing to make this a reality. I can’t do anything more than applaud you and tell you to keep it up.”