Hunters urged to donate excess venison to charity

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With the holiday season quickly approaching, Chris Patterson is challenging his fellow hunters to donate excess venison to charity.

“I’ve been hunting all my life,” said Patterson, who recently donated venison to Advocates for Children’s Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter and Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter. “I’m one of a bunch of hunters [who] kill more than they need every year. My youngest son, Carson, played baseball this year ... and one of the boys that was on the team lived at the children’s shelter. I had a friend that worked there, and I got to know the kids.

“... And I thought, well I kill a lot more [deer] than I really need every year to feed my family. I give [away] one here, and I give one there. And I said, why don’t I give it to somebody who could actually use it, instead of [me or] you [who are] able to buy our own meat. The children’s shelter, if they don’t get stuff donated, I don’t know how they actually afford to buy [these items]. So I got with one of them, and she said they’d love to have it.”

Helping the Cartersville resident promote this effort is Cartersville Elks Lodge No. 1969. Overall, the 200-member lodge — with the help of Miller Meats of Emerson — is covering the processing fees for five deer.

“Chris Patterson came to a lodge member with this proposal that he was trying to get off the ground, knowing of our strong involvement in community charitable activities,” said Gary Robinette, public relations chairman for the local Elks Lodge. “The member, [Connie McCurry], put the matter on the floor at a recent meeting, and the members approved that the lodge would help kick-start the project by paying for the processing of the first five donated deer.

“The lodge has had a long-standing association with Flowering Branch, the Good Neighbor [Homeless] Shelter, the battered women’s shelter, and the SKORE program that deals with school truancy involving at-risk kids. All of these programs will benefit from the deer donation project.”

Formed in 1983, Advocates for Children is a Cartersville nonprofit that assists more than 3,000 area youth and families each year. Along with operating Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter, the organization provides numerous programs that aid in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.

“The donation of venison is greatly appreciated, as it will provide several meals for the children living at Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter over the coming months,” said Lyndsey Wilson, director of the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter. “The shelter’s nutrition specialist, Terri Weightman, is already planning for different meals that will feature this meat alongside other donated items we have received. Though it isn’t something we always have on the menu, we have many kids who ask if we serve venison because it’s something their families often served them.

“Donations of any type and size are so welcome at the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter. These donations take many forms from cash and gift cards to purchase what we need to items from our wish list. We are always surprised by and appreciative of the generosity that we have experienced from this community rallying behind the residents here and making their lives better.”

For more information about the Cartersville Elks Lodge’s outreach project, call 770-382-3557 or 770-570-8864.