How did 4.5 tons of donated venison make it into more than 34,000 meals for the hungry in Greater Lansing last year? The simple answer is that Tom Cullimore made it happen.
Five years ago, Cullimore wondered if the excess venison generated each year by hunters could be put to good use. He asked local hunters if they’d like to donate their deer in exchange for free processing, so Cullimore could distribute the meat to the needy. The first year was a slow start.
“I only got five deer,” recalls Cullimore, “and three I got off my own farm.”
As the years progressed, however, so did Williamston
-based HOPE, or Help Other People Eat, the organization Cullimore has formed around his effort. After partnering with area processers, he found that many hunters appreciated the ability to drop off their bounty.
“A lot of people will take an extra deer, or some people shoot deer, but they’re not exactly connoisseurs of venison,” says Cullimore.
And he had no trouble finding those who wanted it. Cullimore donates all of his time and fuel to transport the ground venison to area food banks.
The key to HOPE’s success is raising funds for processing, which is discounted by participating processors. Last year the cost of processing the 214 deer for HOPE was just over $1,200.
This year, HOPE will raise funds in advance with a golf outing on June 12 at the Brookshire Inn & Golf Club
. For more information, contact Tom Cullimore at 517-655-3960.
Source: Tom Cullimore, Help Other People Eat
Writer: Natalie Burg, News Editor