Give the Gift of Venison

Hebrews 13:16 “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

My church is hosting a canned food drive for a local food bank. I was getting ready to make my grocery list, planning to include some items for the food drive, but I was stalling on Facebook, and I stumbled across this link on a friend’s page, 10 Things Food Banks Need But Won’t Ask For.

That’s good information, I thought. I’ll keep that in mind, I thought. And then more and more thoughts started pouring in, and I couldn’t help but share them with you. This is only my second time to write a non-recipe post, so you should know I would not be writing this unless I had a very strong itch that needed to be scratched.

So here you go – my random thoughts on giving.

1. I believe that giving should be self-motivated. I don’t think I should give because someone else tells me I should, but I should give because I want to and because I care about the cause I am giving to.

2. I believe that giving should be intentional. I believe God has given me the gifts that I have, and I believe I should share them in a way that honors him. Therefore, I believe I should know about the cause I am giving to.

3. I believe that most people are naturally generous, but that the generosity muscle, just like the “no” muscle, the “hold-your-tongue” muscle, and the “saving” muscle need to be exercised or they’ll atrophy. The more I give, the more I want to give.

4. I believe that generosity breeds generosity, within myself, as mentioned in number 3, but also with other people. I know that it’s considered self-centered and boastful to talk about how you’ve given, but I know that I, personally, am inspired when I hear the ways other people have given. I cannot hear those stories without thinking of ways I would love to give. So if you won’t brag on yourself, brag on someone else. It will inspire someone to be generous as well.

5. I believe that giving brings just as much joy {if not more} for the giver as for the receiver. It just feels good to give, and sometimes even better to give in secret or anonymously.

6. I believe that I should give within my means. If giving would harm myself or my family, I should probably reconsider my gift. However, if I have taken care of my family, I am free to give as much as I want to. When my family’s needs are met and I have extra, I am a blessing to my family and to others. Therefore, I do not believe that I should be guilted into giving. If I am giving but harboring begrudging feelings about the giving, it probably isn’t the right cause.

7. I believe that giving is not just about money, but can be given in prayer, time, goods, words, etc. In this stage of my life I have rarely given with money. But I have been able to give used baby clothes, a home cooked meal, my time to a certain FFA program that I love, and my prayers for a friend in need.

8. I believe that if I give and expect something in return, it wasn’t a gift, but a barter or a trade. There’s nothing wrong with bartering or trading, but I can’t call it a gift. A true gift requires no repayment to me, but paying it forward would certainly be acceptable.

9. I believe there is nothing sexier than a man who will give of himself and of his talents. And I have a pretty sexy husband, if I do say so myself. He loves to give to others, and I love that my children get to see him demonstrate the characteristic of generosity.

 

So what does this have to do with My Wild Kitchen? A lot, actually. I wanted to take a day to use my platform here to inform you of ways that you can exercise your generosity muscle and help feed those who may not be as fortunate as you, and these random thoughts are my guidelines for giving.

There are a lot of hungry people in our backyard. I am a big believer in the saying,

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.

I also know that some people need to be given a fish or two while they learn how to fish. I’ve collected a list of organizations for you to consider supporting as you prepare to do your holiday giving this year. Of course these organizations need help year-round, but while we’re in the giving mood I thought I’d share.

Meat in the Freezer 2

I’m including a link to each organization, along with a brief description of how they operate and function. If any of these links ever appear to be broken, please let me know in the comments so I can work to fix that.

One last disclaimer, related to #2. I have not done extensive research on any of these organizations. Please do your own research before donating to make sure that it matches up with your values.

Hunters for the Hungry – Texas Division

Hunters for the Hungry accepts donations of white tail and mule deer {state regulations prohibit feral hogs and other exotics from being donated – which is a shame in my opinion given the damaging numbers of them in Texas}. Deer can be taken to a processor, the hunter pays a fee {usually $35 – $40}, and arrangements are made between the processor and food banks, soup kitchens, etc. to get the meat to hungry tables. The above website has a list of 67 processors in Texas that participate in the Hunters for the Hungry program.

Safari Club International

The Safari Club has information for donating wild game, stating that meat can be donated to a food bank from your personal freezer throughout the year. I had a conversation with one of our local processors, Daryl Dieringer with Woodbury’s Taxidermy. He mentioned that the Dallas Safari Club is asking their members to donate to Hunters for the Hungry.

The NRA

The NRA hosts a list of links where you can find organizations by state. Some of the links on the NRA page were broken links, but it may be a good place to find an organization that you can Google.

Buckmaster’s Project Venison

This website does not have much information regarding participating locations, but I called them directly, and they emailed a list of participating processors for their program. They are:

Po’ Boys Meat Market, Dublin GA (478) 272-4966

Ronnie’s Deer Processing, Dublin, GA (478)272-2782

PS Locker Plant, Spalding, MI (906)497-5248

The Buck Stop, Zanesville, OH (740)819-3952.

Farmers and Hunters Feed the Hungry

Click here to find a butcher on this website. Deer and elk can be donated to local processors, and the local chapters pay for the processing. Hunters can donate meat free of charge as long as the chapter has enough funds to perform the processing. {Which means they also accept cash donations to operate the program.}

Feeding America

If you don’t have a participating venison donation program in your area, consider contacting a food pantry locally. This link to Feeding America will take you to a search to find a local food bank near you. Consider calling your local food bank and asking if they will accept processed venison. The worst they can do is say no.

 

Here are some other ideas:

If you don’t have a venison donation program in your area, but you know of a family in need and want to donate anonymously, you could pay for the processing and have the processor call the family, telling them that a deer has been paid for; all they have to do is pick it up. {If you do this, be sure the family has enough space to store an entire deer, or the blessing may become a burden. If they don’t you could split it between multiple families.}

A local ranch owner that Coach and I work for part-time has created his own source of donations in the past. I don’t know the details of how he did it, but he has sent hundreds of pounds of venison overseas to our brave troops. I know he faced some logistical problems, but he had the will and he found a way. I can’t even imagine how excited those soldiers were to get some dried venison sausage and jerky!

School administrators, teachers, and church administrators may know who could benefit from your donations as well. Give them a call and ask if they know of a family who could benefit from some fresh or frozen wild game. They may not be able to reveal identities, but most would be willing to coordinate the donation for you. Last year I was able to anonymously donate a pan of venison lasagna to a cafeteria worker who had lost her house in fire, but I wouldn’t have known about her if I hadn’t asked the principal. It wasn’t much, but it was what I could afford to do at the time. And that’s all that matters.

I would love to hear your ideas for making someone’s dinner table a little healthier and a little tastier. If you have ever given in this way, please share your story in the comments for others to read. If you know of a donation program that provides wild game to hungry families that I did not list in my list above, please share it in the comments below as well. I may even add some of your ideas into the original post later on.

Thank you for your generosity to someone in need. God bless.

  • Jeannie

    This is fantastic Noel!!! Thank you!!

    • Noel

      I’m glad this was helpful for you!

  • What a wonderful website! Awesome to see some great information and delicious recipes provided in a Christian platform. Thanks!

    • Noel

      Thank you Richard, and I’m glad my light was bright enough to shine. 🙂

  • Nicole Anderson

    Fabulous, quality information – not easy to find elsewhere on the net but given so freely here. Thank you so much.

    • Thank you, Nicole! As someone who’s been given to on numerous accounts by friends and family, giving is often on my heart. I only hope to pay it forward in huge quantities someday!