LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry will hold a special "freezer cleanout day" at the Bass Pro Shops in Little Rock, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 16. Any hunter who wishes to donate processed meat or money to help feed needy families in Arkansas is encouraged to join in the event.
Most hunters will admit to having had to throw out a package or two of freezer-burned venison after it went unused for a few seasons. When this year's deer begin filling the freezer, it's easy for last year's meat to get misplaced or lost in the shuffle. Instead of throwing out meat after it has gone bad, you can clean out the freezer and donate that venison while it's still good to people who are in need.
"Those leftovers go a long way in helping provide meat to food pantries around the state, which is one of the hardest things for these places to gather," said Ronnie Ritter, executive director for AHFH. "The freezer cleanout has become a big event to help us start the deer season off on the right foot."
Ritter says the AHFH and Bass Pro Shops will be giving away Bass Pro Shops gift cards in drawings held every hour during the event and one hunting package at the event's conclusion to add some incentive for hunters to donate.
"Anyone who donates meat will be eligible to draw," Ritter said. "We can also receive monetary donations to help with processing costs for next season. Anyone who donates that way also will be eligible to draw."
Ritter says the drawing also will include people who purchase a license at the store that day and elect to make a donation to AHFH through the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission's license system.
"Hunters have been able to donate $1, $5 or $10 to us when they buy their hunting license for years, and we really appreciate all the help that option has given us in our mission," Ritter said.
In addition to the freezer cleanout and drawings, Kruse Meat Products of Saline County will have samples of summer sausage available to try, and the Dutch Oven Society will be preparing Dutch oven cobbler for people interested in sweet treat made the old-fashioned way.
Ritter says the event is primarily about gathering processed venison, but other professionally processed game animals or meat will be accepted.
"There are a lot of other food drives and opportunities to donate canned foods and frozen vegetables during the year, and we even hold a few of those opportunities, but we only have so much space in or truck, so we do ask people to only donate meat or money during this event," Ritter said.
for more information about Arkansas Hunters Feeding the Hungry.