Mike Aversa, co-founder of Hunters Helping the Hungry, hunts deer in Hunterdon County. Deer meat provided by Hunters Helping the Hungry is distributed to charitable organizations throughout northern New Jersey, including the Catholic Charities Food Pantry in Phillipsburg. — Lauren Moore photo
By Lauren Moore
Despite what Bambi might have you believe, hunters are not the enemy.
Local hunters are utilizing their sport to give back to the less fortunate through Hunters Helping the Hungry, an organization that provides venison, or deer meat, to a local food bank to be distributed to low-income families in the area.
Hunters Helping the Hungry was founded in 1997 by Les Giese, Mike Aversa and Joe Schultz with two goals in mind: combating the overpopulation of deer in the area while providing the less fortunate with a healthy source of nutrients.
Schultz, a member of Immaculate Conception Parish, Annandale, said he recognized a need while helping less fortunate families through church groups.
“I could see that needy families could utilize the protein [in venison]. We have the available resources, so why not utilize them and help the community?” he said.
So far, Schultz donated two deer this season. He has been hunting for more than 40 years, and has been “from Saskatchewan to Africa, and everywhere in between.” When hunting abroad, Schultz donates all of the meat he hunts to the locals in need.