29 May2012http://www.nj.com/hunterdon-county-democrat/index.ssf/2012/05/shooting_match_raises_3300_for.html photo gallery here: http://photos.nj.com/4645/gallery/hunters_helping_the_hungry_clay_bird_shoot_may_2012/index.html Hunters Helping the Hungry, a nonprofit organization founded by two Hunterdon men, reports two successful fundraising events in May — a clay-bird shoot in Coplay, Pa., that netted more than $3,300 and a striper-fishing trip that pulled in more than $1,000. HHH is a statewide organization, but most of its trustees are from Hunterdon. It invites hunters to donate their deer, which are butchered and the meat is distributed to the needy via organizations such as NORWESCAP and Catholic Charities. A hunter donating a carcass also donates $10 toward butchering, but even at discounted prices, it costs $65 to cut up a deer. So HHH relies on donations and fundraising events.
Hunters Helping the Hungry reach million-meal mark, connect the needy with New Jersey venison
Published: Thursday, September 08, 2011, 8:59 AM Updated: Thursday, September 08, 2011, 1:08 PM
By Rick Epstein / Hunterdon County Democrat
Rick EpsteinTrustees of Hunters Helping the Hungry and their liaisons are (from left) NORWESCAP liaison Shannon Williams; trustees Bud Thomas and Mark Charbonneau; state Fish & Wildlife liaison Larry Herrighty; and trustees John Person, Les Giese, Pola Galie and Joe Schultz.New Jersey has lots of hungry people and it also has lots of white-tailed deer — especially in Hunterdon County. That’s the equation that has added up to a million meals provided by Hunters Helping the Hungry since the group was founded in 1997 by two Clinton Township men. A meal is figured at a quarter-pound of venison. HHH consists of six trustees — founders Lester Giese and Joe Schultz; Mark Charbonneau and John Person, also of Clinton Township; and Pola Galie and Bud Thomas, both of South Jersey. The trustees spread the word to hunters on how they can donate their kills to the needy, raise money to pay game butchers, and make arrangements with NORWESCAP and Catholic Charities for distribution of the frozen meat all over the state. Charbonneau says the 2010-11 season “was our finest hour.” Hunters donated 754 deer, which dressed out to 29,138 pounds of venison — “high protein, low-fat meat from a renewable resource.” He says that the word back from the food banks around the state is that “they can’t keep it on the shelves.” Person, who is one of eight butchers who process the meat at a discounted price ($65 per deer instead of the usual $94), praised the hunters who donate. “They make a commitment,” he said. Charbonneau explains, “The second you pull the trigger, the work starts.” That involves gutting the deer, carrying the carcass out of the woods, bringing it to a checking station and then to a participating butcher, plus paying $10 toward the processing. “It’s a beautiful thing,” he says. “Last week I was target practicing with my bow getting ready for the upcoming season,” says Charbonneau. “My 5-year-old daughter, Leyla, stood by my side. … She said to me, ‘You’re practicing so you can help feed people, right Daddy?’ I asked if she’s going to help when she gets older, and she replied, ‘Oh yeah!’” Not surprisingly, animal-rights activists claim the program’s real purpose is to put a charitable face on a cruel sport. Charbonneau would tell them they’re thinking too hard. It’s about feeding the hungry. Schultz says he’d tell them: “We’ve donated one million meals; what have you done to help the community?” Charbonneau says, “I’m drawn to (anti-hunting) letters to the editor. Outcry from the uneducated public gives me the energy to go even further. It makes us go out and find more support — from national retailers, local hunting and fishing shops — and to organize fundraising events.” Enough such letters might energize him to start a service that would match property owners with hunters. Person says he’s found that feeding the hungry can be a deal-maker that convinces landowners to allow philanthropic hunters access to their acreage. Charbonneau thinks a service like that could take HHH “to the next level.” Meanwhile HHH is busy matching venison with hunger. A TV segment on the nonprofit was shot recently for the “Friends of the NRA” show, which will be aired on the Outdoor Channel in January. Charbonneau says after a visit to Person’s butcher shop, “we went to Catholic Charities in Phillipsburg where a particular family stood by.” The couple had four kids, the wife had lost her job and the husband’s work hours had been cut and they were grateful for the food. He had never seen this end of the HHH process and “at that time my voice cracked,” he says. With his emotions well in hand, Charbonneau says, “We’re just the medium to put food in a family’s mouths; you can’t dispute that agenda.”
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10 Dec2010The series is being produced by CNN writers and photojournalists who are looking at the creative and traditional ways people are giving of their time, their resources and their love. The goal is to highlight acts of generosity that can be found not only at the holidays, but throughout the year. According to Les Giese, co-founder of Hunters Helping the Hungry, “This is a wonderful opportunity to spread the news about how our group provides thousands of pounds of high protein venison to feed New Jersey’s hungry families.” Since the Hunters Helping the Hungry program began in 1997, it has donated over 219,000 pounds of venison, providing approximately 876,000 servings to feed hungry people in the community. Produced by CNN’s award winning team of photojournalists, the In Focus series explores the stories beyond the headlines, bringing to light the voices of those affected by the multifaceted issues covered by CNN. In Focus draws on the power of visual storytelling and natural sound packages to bring a new perspective to CNN’s coverage of the most important issues of the day. The series’ unique production style, in which one photojournalist writes, shoots, and edits their own local story, not only gives photojournalists an outlet to display their talent, it provides CNN with original, compelling, and cost-effective material that can be used across the network and many platforms to enhance their coverage of major news events. Giving in Focus: 12 Days of Goodness will be hosted by Tom Foreman and airs at 1:00 p.m. on Christmas Day and 3:00 pm ET on December 26th on CNN. Visit CNN’s website for the show at http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2009/giving.in.focus/index.html