Deer hunters, volunteers working to help hungry South Carolinians

in Voices by

By Duane Swygert

I’m proud to serve as a member of the board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). The agency supports many worthwhile projects that benefit the people of South Carolina, and one of the ways the SCDNR works to achieve its goals is by supporting other agencies and non-profit organizations.

Among the many fine non-profit organizations that SCDNR works with is the volunteer-staffed South Carolina Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry, whose members work to provide nutritious venison, legally and ethically harvested by hunters, to residents of South Carolina in need. 

Unfortunately, according to the organization FeedAmerica.org, one in every eight South Carolinians struggles with hunger, including nearly 179,000 children. 

S.C. Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry is a 501-C3 organization established in 2004 by a group of civic-minded deer hunters in the Upstate of South Carolina who wanted to share their harvest with those who needed the meat but were unable to hunt and process deer themselves. Since then, the organization reports on its website [schuntersforthehungry.com] that they have distributed more than 500,000 pounds of donated venison via a network of processors and a diverse group of partnering organizations that includes church ministries, soup kitchens, food banks and other community resource groups.

This system works well, and any deer hunter can donate all or part of a deer and all or part of the processing cost by dropping a harvested deer off at a participating processor and contacting S.C. Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry. A volunteer will pick up the processed venison and deliver it to local agencies feeding people across the state, and the organization will reimburse the processor for the balance of their cost.

S.C. Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry has grown significantly since its founding and looks forward to expanding its efforts to serve the entire state of South Carolina. The S.C. Natural Resources Board of Directors and the SCDNR support their efforts and applaud the hard work of this all-volunteer group.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, Gov. Henry McMaster will be the guest speaker at the S.C. Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry annual banquet, held at Philadelphia Baptist Church in Pauline. For more information, to locate a participating processor or to find out how you can help, please visit the organization’s website.

I am honored to be affiliated with both SCDNR and S.C. Hunters and Landowners for the Hungry and thankful that these volunteers give of their time to help others in need.

Duane Swygert of Hardeeville represents South Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District on the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Board. (https://www.dnr.sc.gov/admin/board.html)