Local hunters help stock area food banks

Posted: December 10, 2013

The Winchester Star

Travis Streit carries a deer to be processed for Hunters for the Hungry at T&R Deer Processing on Monday.
Amy Behm and Travis Streit process deer meat at T&R Deer Processing in Frederick County on Monday. The business processes the meat for the Hunters for the Hungry program. By the end of the hunting season on Jan. 4, they will have packaged 15,000 to 18,000 pounds of meat that will be used at area food banks and pantries. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)
Travis Streit (from left), Jay Dunn and Keith Trenary, owners of T&R Deer Processing in Frederick County, prepare to cut up a deer for the Hunters for the Hungry program on Monday. (Photo by Ginger Perry/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER

Local hunters are again helping stock area food banks with meat this season.

Hunters for the Hungry, a statewide nonprofit organization, partners with deer processors and pays the processing fees on deer that the hunters want to donate to the program. The processed meat is then taken to local food banks and similar organizations that provide food for people in need, according to Laura Newell-Furniss, director of Hunters for the Hungry.

Keith Trenary, of T&R Deer Processing at 691 Carpers Valley Road, southeast of Winchester, said he’s processed deer for Hunters for the Hungry since the program started in 1991.

The business typically processes 16,000 to 20,000 pounds of deer meat for Hunters for the Hungry each year. So far this hunting season, T&R has processed about 8,000 pounds, Trenary said Monday.

“You can’t make money off of it, but it’s a nice program,” he said. “It’s all about having a heart and doing things the way you should.”

Trenary added that the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank receives most of the deer meat processed for the program.

While the level of donated meat has declined slightly in recent years, Trenary said that what the program is able to provide to local food banks is better than nothing.

Newell-Furniss was one of the founding members of Hunters for the Hungry and has been the organization’s director since 2002.

She said Monday that, while there are similar programs in other states, Virginia has the largest effort of its kind in the country.

Statewide, Hunters for the Hungry averages about 1 million quarter-pound servings of deer meat donated to food banks per year. The program has resulted in about 20.9 million servings since its start, according to Newell-Furniss.

“The needs [for donations] are increasing,” she said. “Our goal is to keep meat that’s donated in the community it’s donated in.”

Hunters for the Hungry asks hunters to consider donating mature, large-bodied deer, which can provide up to 200 servings each.

The 2013 statewide goal is to have 370,000 pounds in donations.

There are two processors that work with Hunters for the Hungry in Frederick County, including T&R. The other is DeHaven’s Butcher and Country Market at 468 White Hall Road.

There are none in Clarke County.

Additional information on Hunters for the Hungry is available online at h4hungry.org.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at marmstrong@winchesterstar.com