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Farmers, hunters process venison for the hungry

January 07, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry began in 1997 when founder Rick Wilson was on his way to a barbecue with hunting friends in Virginia.

He stopped to help a woman by the side of the road. She was trying to load a deer that had been struck by a car.

He told her she could be cited for transporting an untagged deer. She told him she didn't care. She and her kids were hungry.

In its first six years, FHFH has been responsible for processing 1,400 tons of venison and other big game for soup kitchens and food pantries. FHFH, an outreach ministry whose members work to feed the hungry, has spread to 27 or 28 states, Wilson says. In Washington County, Food Resources picks up 80 percent of the program's cut, wrapped and frozen meat.

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The program, headquartered in Hagerstown, is funded with corporate and individual donations - and in Maryland, $1 from hunting license fees.

Operations were suspended in December due to a lack of funds to pay butchers. Deer donations have exceeded expectations, and by mid-December, $111,000 had been paid for butchering in Maryland, an amount that surpassed the 2002-03 season total by $25,000, Wilson says.

Donations - of deer and dollars - are welcome.

For information, call 301-769-3000.

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