Natural gas companies in Pennsylvania have supported a number of conservation initiatives but perhaps none are as beneficial to so many people as Hunters Sharing the Harvest.
Meeting John Plowman is an experience one never forgets. He is the Executive Director of a Pennsylvania organization know as Hunters Sharing the Harvest. It’s a simple program where hunters are able to use an extra hunting tag to take a deer, which they then donate to the organization for distribution to food banks around the Commonwealth.
It’s great idea, of course, but you have no idea just how great until you’ve met John, a quick-witted guy with a big heart, a terrific sense of humor and twice the energy and passion than someone half his age. He spent many years working with the Pennsylvania State Game Commission, was instrumental in creating Hunters Sharing the Harvest and has now served as its Executive Director for many years. I met him recently at a gas industry meeting where he came to thank representatives for their support.
The natural gas industry is, in fact, a huge supporter of Hunters Sharing the Harvest, with Chief Oil & Gas, Cabot Oil & Gas, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Southwestern Energy, Anadarko Petroleum, Consol Energy, Range Resources, Sundrilling Products and Chesapeake Energy all being among the sponsors. Here’s a short video explaining the program and its importance to food banks across the Commonwealth (Note that the program has since been significantly improved with Pennsylvania Game Commission and further gas industry report as the details below indicate):
Here’s another video that goes into somewhat more detail as John Plowman talks to the NRA about this pioneering program, which, as he notes, is a hunters initiative, not a government one (again, the program has now been further improved, as the news release below indicates):
According to Plowman, “beginning with the 2014 deer seasons, caring hunters who annually help feed hungry Pennsylvanians by donating their extra venison through Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH) will discover an easier process at virtually no cost. And their compassionate gesture will gain additional recognition as a valuable wildlife resource is utilized wisely.” Here’s more from the latest news release:
Since 1991, Hunters Sharing the Harvest has accepted donated deer from hunters that are processed into ground venison by official HSH inspected meat processors, and distributed statewide by food banks to over 4,000 local soup kitchens, pantries, missions and needy families. The program’s yearly goal is to deliver 100,000 lbs. of donated venison which can provide more than 750,000 meals via social service programs.
Effective this season, several major changes are being announced to further the objectives and success of the HSH program that should be welcomed by participating hunters throughout Pennsylvania – HSH is proud to announce the $15 deposit requested from donors when dropping off a deer has been eliminated.
The co-pay was necessary for many years when sufficient funds to reimburse butchers were unpredictable. Thanks to major gifts by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, Consol Energy and the Richard King Mellon Foundation, along with exceptional yearly support of many major corporate sponsors, partners, sportsmen’s clubs and thousands of individuals, the registered nonprofit’s funding base has stabilized sufficiently for the HSH board of directors to take this action.
HSH looks forward to this change serving as an additional incentive for more hunters to donate even more deer into the system. Hunters will only have to deliver their deer to any HSH approved processor, and complete the short 3-part donation form. The processor will then process the deer for the food bank program and be reimbursed for contracted services by HSH after the season.
To make donating an extra deer easy, the HSH www.sharedeer.org website maintains links with updated contact listings of all participating processors by county, along with local volunteer coordinators who are there to help, plus a toll-free telephone 1-866-474-2141 to access the same information.
In addition, thanks to an innovative partnership with Cabela’s Outfitters, the Marcellus Shale Coalition and Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters who donate deer will receive a new version of the S.P.O.R.T. measuring tape with our thanks. This popular weatherproof item can be carried afield while hunting, and allows the hunter to quickly estimate weight of his harvest on site. While supplies last, all deer donors will receive the tape, as well as the collectible window decal sponsored by Bass Pro Shops with the charity’s letter acknowledging the donation following the season.
Furthermore, pilot projects launched in 2013 in Southwestern and Northeastern PA counties to completely cover 100% of processing costs by specific sponsors such as Consol Energy and Cabot Oil & Gas may be extended and expanded. All Pennsylvanians, whether they hunt or not are also urged to donate tax-deductible financial contributions to the HSH program to help meet deer processing costs. For more complete information please visit www.sharedeer.org
John Plowman’s commitment, enthusiasm and compassion can’t be fully experienced until you’ve met the guy in person. He’s a fun individual to be around and has the unique ability to deliver a serious message with good cheer. He’s a motivator and the success of this program is, I’m pleased to say, enhanced by the contributions of the natural gas industry which employs thousands of hunters and provides royalties to thousands more. We hope to have a guest post from John post-season to tell us how it went this year. I’m guessing it will be a record year.
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