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Hunters, deer processor helping out Chesy food pantry

Charlie Henderson, left, and David Brewer, right, with River’s Bend Deer Processing, of Proctorville, are seen with knives ready in front of their meat cooler. The two are currently donating their deer processing services if hunters are willing to donate their fresh kills to help feed the hungry with deer meat. THE TRIBUNE/JESSICA ST. JAMES

PROCTORVILLE — Don Moore of the Chesapeake Food Pantry knew about the program. He had used the national venison ministry when he dealt with the Logan Food Bank, outside of Athens.

But he wanted a local source. That’s when he saw the sign in a field outside of Proctorville that David Brewer had put up advertising his business, River’s Bend Deer Processing. Brewer is partners with Charlie Henderson.

Moore met Brewer and the pair have now teamed up to provide much needed fresh meat for those in need.

“Don stopped here one day and asked me if I would be interested,” Brewer said. “Now I package it and get it to the food bank.”

Not only was he interested, Brewer has become a coordinator for the Southeastern Ohio program of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.

The Williamsport, Del.-based venison ministry focuses on going back to the roots of this country, when hunters and farmers provided the food that went on every table in the country.

Now modern-day hunters can donate one of their kills to one of the program’s meat processors. If the entire animal is donated, the program will paid for all the processing charges. FHFH works to place all donated meat to local food banks.

Wednesday morning the Chesapeake Food Pantry, located at the village’s community center, received its first boxes of deer meat from Brewer. Seven deer provided 173 pounds of meat.

“Last month we had 440 families who came through to get help,” Moore said about the Chesapeake pantry. “When you count the family members, the total number of people is around 1,300. It keeps increasing every year. It is hard to keep enough food to take care of the demand.

“This will be a tremendous thing to be able to get deer meat to give out. People take it real well. They like to get it. When you have as many people coming through needing help as we have any food is helpful.”

The food pantry is open after the 15th of each month on Mondays from 1 to 3 p.m. and Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. The pantry only provides Christmas food baskets during December.

Anyone wishing to donate a deer can contact Brewer at 304-840-7767. There is no cost to the hunter for the donation.

“This feels pretty good that you are doing something right,” Brewer said.