SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Division of Natural Resources anticipates that hunter-donated venison to the Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH) Program this season will allow the total meals over the lifetime of the HHH Program to surpass one million.

HHH is a DNR-sponsored program allowing hunters to donate venison from legally-harvested white-tailed deer to needy West Virginians during the various fall hunting seasons.

"We are ecstatic that the HHH Program has enjoyed so much success since it first began back in 1992," noted HHH Program Coordinator Jerry Westfall.

"Thanks to generous West Virginia hunters who donated deer to the HHH Program over the years, many needy West Virginians have received highly nutritious meals.

The DNR, along with their partners, Mountaineer Food Bank and Huntington Area Food Bank, truly appreciate the generosity shown by these hunters and acknowledge that without their help, this program could not exist."

Under the HHH Program, two-pound packages of ground venison are collected from participating certified processors by the Mountaineer Food Bank located in Gassaway and Huntington Area Food Bank.

These food banks then distribute the packaged ground venison to participating statewide distribution centers, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, community centers, churches, orphanages and other institutions that provide the needy highly-nutritious venison meals.

Although it may be too late for non-enrolled distribution centers to receive venison in 2010 (because of the minimum 60-day application review process), those interested are encouraged to enroll now so they may receive venison starting in the winter 2011.

Contact Mountaineer Food Bank at 304-364-5518 to discuss the application process needed to receive venison.

"Although the DNR is very grateful for hunter-donated deer, the HHH Program still requires monetary donations to offset processing and distribution costs," said Westfall.

The DNR is restricted from using sportsmen's license dollars to fund this program and is completely dependent upon monetary donations by concerned individuals, businesses, conservation organizations, foundations, churches, and fund-raising events such as the Governor's One Shot Hunt. "Without this donated monetary funding, we simply could not continue the HHH Program," said Westfall.

The DNR accepts monetary donations to the HHH Program year-round. To make a monetary donation to the HHH Program, please visit online www.wvdnr.gov or call Billie Shearer at 304-558-2771 or email Billie.J.Shearer@wv.gov

Hunters can also consult the website or pick up an HHH brochure at DNR offices to locate participating meat processors around the state. For HHH Program general information, consult the website or contact Program Coordinator Jerry Westfall at 304-558-2771 or mail Jerry.A.Westfall@wv.gov

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