BY MELANIE BUCK –
BY MELANIE BUCK –
As hunters hit the woods this deer season, T-N-L Meat Processing would like to remind everyone to help support Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry (AHFH). T-N-L Processing has been involved with the program for seven years and owners Troy and Ginger Lunsford are more than happy about the support they have received from the community for such a worthy cause.
AHFH is a program that began in 2000 to distribute donated meats to food banks around the state. The program works in conjunction with meat processors around the state who ask their patrons to donate their processed meats to help feed the hungry. Approximately 3 million meals have been given to the state’s hungry since its inception.
Hunters who wish to donate to the program can visit T-N-L at 527 Polk 71, 12 miles east of Mena off of Hwy. 88E. Hunters can donate part or all of their deer by simply telling the processor how much would you like to donate. “Some folks will say, ‘I’ll donate 5 packages of ground meat’ while others donate the whole deer,” said Lunsford. Most processors ask that you at least skin the deer and, if possible, ‘quarter’ the deer as well. AHFH not only accepts venison, they also take pork, beef, hog (domestic and wild), lamb, and goat to distribute.
Lunsford reported that donations were down a bit last year, bringing in just 360 pounds. In 2014, Lunsford took in just under 400 lbs. of venison for donations to several local food banks. “As far as this program goes, the greatest thing is that it stays local,” Lunsford stated. His biggest year was in 2012 when more than 600 lbs. was donated through his processing plant.
The Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry needs about $100,000 per year to fund the program across the state. Besides food donations, they also accept monetary donations through their website, http://www.arkansashunters.org/ or by mail at P.O. Box 55303, Little Rock, AR 72215-5303. Lunsford said, “A lot of people have begun giving just a package or two after it’s been processed, anything helps.”
T-N-L Meat Processing is the only processor in the region that represents the program. Lunsford humbly added, “I know it’s better to give than to receive.”