Hunters for the Hungry (HFH), a non-profit organization whose mission is to feed the hungry through the collection and donation of game, fish and other food items to local food banks, announces a new program aimed at giving Louisiana anglers an opportunity to help the less fortunate while at the dock.
In partnership with Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Louisiana and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, HFH has started placing freezers at marinas along the Louisiana coast. Anglers now have the opportunity to donate some or all of their catch to be processed and given to local food banks, at no cost to the donor.
“How many times have you returned to the dock after a successful day on the water and wondered how you’ll ever use all your filets,” said HFH’s Andy Record. “Now, you can keep what you need and donate the rest to those who are less fortunate.”
Record says that special HFH freezers will be placed at marinas across the coast. Anglers can give fish to the fish processors at those marinas, who will clean and package the fish, in many cases at no charge. If no fish cleaning service is available, anglers who clean their own catch can simply arrange with marina staff to add their donated filets to the freezers. From there, HFH volunteers and food bank staff coordinate regular delivery of the fish to the food banks.
In fact, the first HFH freezer is already in place at Venice Marina in Plaquemines Parish, and has been a big hit with anglers. Fish and ducks donated to the program are cleaned and packaged at no charge to the angler, due to the generosity of Venice Marina owners Mike and Bill Butler.
HFH is currently working with marinas across the coast to identify additional locations. CCA Louisiana has committed to purchase the next 10 freezers for the program.
“Part of being good stewards of our coastal resources is to be responsible consumers of those resources,” said CCA Louisiana Executive Director David Cresson. “I can’t think of a better way to use a natural resource and set an example for young anglers than to help those in need. CCA is proud to play a role in this important program.”
For 20 years, HFH has been processing and collecting venison and other donated game to feed the hungry. In 2013, HFH in Louisiana collected 30,000 pounds of venison alone, providing protein for roughly 150,000 meals. Since fishing is a year-round activity, HFH organizers hope that this new marina program approaches or exceeds those numbers each year.
“Anglers should be on the lookout for our freezers at their favorite marina in 2014,” said Record. “We hope to have them spread across the coast this year, and we encourage all anglers to participate in our efforts.”
In 2013, the Louisiana legislature passed a bill that allows LDWF to include a “check off” on hunting and fishing licenses for sportsmen who can voluntarily choose an amount to donate to HFH. Sportsmen are encouraged to participate in the program in this way as well.
For more information about Hunters for the Hungry, please visit hunters4hungrylouisiana.org
Logo courtesy Coastal Conservation Association