As I’ve written about here on the blog before, hunters helping out the homeless and hungry is one of the issues I’m most passionate about. With just a little effort and, yes, some financial costs, I truly believe hunters have the ability to make a significant impact on those who are less fortunate through venison donations.
Earlier this summer, I finally got to give more than just some donated deer meat when I spent the day at Chicago’s Cornerstone Community Outreach facility. I’d long been bugging my friend Scott Leysath, who you might recognize as the Sporting Chef or from his show “Dead Meat” on The Sportsman Channel, about attending a Hunt.Fish.Feed event, if they ever planned one nearby. Well, inner-city Chicago isn’t exactly nearby the Nebraska Panhandle, but when Leysath asked me to join him there, I jumped at the chance.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Hunt.Fish.Feed., it is a community outreach program sponsored by The Sportsman Channel that gives back to the less fortunate. Every year the Hunt.Fish.Feed. team hosts several signature events in urban areas feeding less fortunate residents fish and game donated by local sportsman and national organizations, such as the Mule Deer Foundation and Safari Club International. Though Leysath is crazy-busy, he still makes time to attend each event and serve as the executive chef, with duties that range from cleaning fish to cleaning pots and pans.
For the Chicago event, the Sportsman Channel had partnered with Comcast, which provided volunteers to help with prep and serving. I spent most of the day sweating over a hot stovetop browning untold pounds of ground venison. It wasn’t glamorous, but giving back shouldn’t be. Of the few times I made it over to the serving line, the mission’s guests all were raving about the food. Sure there was a little trepidation about eating “Bambi,” as one visitor put it, but that was quickly forgotten when they got a taste of the tacos. And, of course, the salmon was a hit among everyone.
Instead of being tired at the end of the long, hot day, I stood a little taller, proud that I could give back just a little bit to help combat hunger. But mostly I was proud of the Sportsman Channel for hosting these amazing events and proud to part of the community of hunters and anglers willing to part with such precious gifts of hard-won fish and game just help those in need.
In addition to the Hunt.Fish.Feed. events, there are several great organizations around the country that help in the fight against hunger, including Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry, Sportsmen Against Hunger, and other local groups. I would encourage all Wild Chef readers to look into what they can do to help these groups in their area.