With soaring food prices in 2022, many Floridians saw a much higher grocery bill than usual. For many it meant compromising their normal purchases, but for others it sadly meant going without. Luckily, Florida Hunters for the Hungry (FLH4H) was there to help.
The nonprofit works with Florida’s tight-knit hunting community to provide protein-rich meals to individuals in need. When Florida deer and boar hunters are ready to donate their harvest, they alert a member of FLH4H who facilitates getting the massive animals to a nearby processing center. It’s here the meat is broken down into manageable amounts before being donated to local food pantries.
Thanks to a $10,000 Wildlife Foundation of Florida plate grant from our Foundation, FLH4H was able to cover expenses for transportation and processing for their 2021-2022 season. Their program also encourages sustainable hunting practices and land stewardship for those who donate their harvest. Most of the animals donated are white-tailed deer and wild hog, which are an invasive species in Florida.
“Our goal is to go out and feed more people than we did in the previous year,” said Tracy Grevert, Founder and Director of FLH4H. “This grant allowed us to do that.”
Since 2019, the organization has provided over 29,000 pounds of food for the hungry. Operation Hope Florida, located in the rural agricultural city of Fellsmere, Florida, is one that receives meat donations. In 1997, Jesse Zermeno founded Operation Hope in response to the plight of migrant workers in Fellsmere. Today, he and his nonprofit support hundreds of families in need by providing food pick-up on the first and third Saturdays of the month.
While Jesse receives produce and canned goods from a variety of sources, protein can be harder to come by. If meat is unavailable through donation, he will purchase chicken and beef with cash but says the hunted wild hogs provided by FLH4H are a welcomed delicacy.
“The Cubans and Hondurans love the pork, they absolutely love it,” Jesse said.
Humans in Florida aren’t the only ones benefitting from FLH4H donations, so are animals. Seaside Bird Sanctuary in Indian Shores has some stubborn rehab patients, including turkey vulture Lars. Lars sustained an injury that prevents him from flying, leading to his residence at the sanctuary. Despite his comfy new digs, he still longs for the thrill of finding his own meat and needs variety in his diet. Thanks to our grant, FLH4H donated meat to the sanctuary that food banks don’t typically want, like venison ribs and hearts. These gifts are literally drooled over by the patients and residents like Lars, coaxing injured birds to eat and stubborn ones like Lars to learn skills, and provide overall enrichment.
Funds for this project and ones like it are made possible by purchases of our “Deer” license plate. Click here to order your own.