South Charleston, WV - The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages hunters to donate legally harvested white-tailed deer taken during the various fall hunting seasons to the Hunters Helping the Hungry (HHH) Program.

"We are very pleased to note that the HHH Program has provided more than one million venison meals to needy West Virginians since it began back in 1992," noted Gene Thorn, HHH Program Coordinator. "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 its 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 the 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 with highly nutritious venison meals. Although it may be too late for non-enrolled distribution centers to receive venison in 2011 (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 2012. Contact Mountaineer Food Bank at 304-364-5518 to discuss the application process needed to receive venison.

"Although DNR is very grateful for hunter-donated deer, the HHH Program still requires monetary donations to offset processing and distribution costs," said Thorn. 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 monetary donations, we simply could not continue the HHH Program," said Thorn.

Hunters also can 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 at   www.wvdnr.gov   or contact Program Coordinator Gene Thorn at 304-924-6211 or email   Eugene.R.Thorn@wv.gov

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