LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) — Roger LaPointe has seen God’s hand in using deer hunters to help meet food needs in the commonwealth. Now, he and Kentucky Hunters for the Hungry (KHFH) are asking hunters to participate in a program where they can hunt and help in a statewide hunger relief program at the same time.
LaPointe is executive director of KHFH, a charitable, volunteer-run organization of hunters and conservationists that encourages hunters to harvest and donate deer each season.
“We ask hunters during deer season to donate a deer, and those who don’t hunt we ask for donations through corporate sponsors, churches and sportsmen’s groups,” LaPointe said. He said the amount of support in the deer season later this year will determine the amount of deer that can be processed.
“Our mission is to alleviate hunger and malnutrition in Kentucky by paying for the processing and distribution of donated venison to those in need,” he said. “We want to provide an outlet for hunters to help their communities and promote environmental stewardship through wildlife management.”
LaPointe said there are 51 processors scattered throughout the state who “are very instrumental in making this work. We have a few who donate their time and efforts. Those processors and other information is available on our website (kyhuntersforthehungry.info).” The site includes an interactive map to show where the processors are located.
LaPointe, a member of Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, recalls a unique situation that occurred late in bow season that showed to him the Lord’s work in this ministry.
“I got a call from a Baptist church in Virginia, asking if we could donate meat to Cranks Creek United Methodist Church. That contact was the result of Christ’s Hands, Inc., a Harlan ministry that had hosted a Baptist church team. Bryan Toll, director of Christ’s Hands, said that the Virginia church was one of many organizations that ministry works with. Christ’s Hands offers a food pantry, soup kitchen and furniture for those in need.
LaPointe admits to being surprised by the call. “I was amazed that a Baptist church in Virginia would call me about helping a Methodist church and having a Christian church (Southeast) to help distribute.”
A campaign was started to announce the need, and food and donations poured in. “I prayed and felt led to do this and asked the Lord to show me what to do,” LaPointe said. “I had a deer stand close to my house, went out to it and soon a big doe came out. I shot it and took it to the processor, who said he also had deer meat to donate. Three other processors had meat they could donate.
Another processor told LaPointe he “loved what you are doing,” and donated his COVID stimulus check and bought 1,000 pounds of chicken for the cause.”
Last year there was a record number of 2,018 deer donated— an increase of 647 from the previous year. He said about 40 pounds of meat comes from one deer, and there are four servings per pound — resulting in one deer providing 160 servings of meat.
Last year the program resulted in 85,767 pounds and 343,060 servings, supplying much-needed protein for needy Kentuckians suffering as a result of the pandemic. Churches play an important role in the KHFH ministry, but LaPointe said that when churches were closed at the height of COVID-19, KHFH was able to use trailers to distribute 40,000 pounds of chicken donated by Kroger and deliver to shelters and food pantries.
LaPointe said people interested in donating a deer or making a financial donation can get information on the website.
Steps to donate a deer include it having a legal buck or doe deer tag. KHFH will pay for the deer to be processed at an approved processor.
The donated deer must be properly field dressed, recorded and telechecked before it can be accepted as a donation. If the temperature is above 40 degrees when the deer is harvested, donors are asked to be two large bags of ice in the deer, one in the chest cavity and one between the hind quarters. That will prevent the meat from spoiling.
Phone the processor before dropping the deer off at their location. Donald will then sign a donation log form provided by the processor.