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Buffalo Bills player helping deer hunters donate their venison to the needy

In this 2003 photo, Laurie Nolan, of Tim Delaney’s Deer Processing in Fleming, NY, packages venison for the Central New York Food Bank as part of the Venison Donation Coalition program. 

Buffalo Bills defensive end Trent Murphy is helping to raise money for a program that arranges for the meat from deer donated by hunters to make its way to the needy.

Murphy has chosen the Venison Donation Coalition as his charity of choice through the Bills “My cause, My Cleats” program. Players choose a charity which a portion of ticket sales are donated by Bills.

Murphy is one of 23 players participating in the program for the Dec. 9 game against the New York Jets. See the Bills’ website for more.

The team will donate $5 from each ticket purchased through Murphy to the Venison Donation Coalition. 

The Venison Donation Coalition was formed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation in 1999 in response to requests from hunters and other sportsmen’s groups. It has since become a non-profit group. Since its inception, the Bath, N.Y.-based program has coordinated the processing and distribution of more than one million pounds of venison to food banks across the state.

The program relies heavily on grants and individual donations through the DEC’s licensing-selling program. However, donations from sportsmen have lagged in recent years, the result in many cases of license sellers not making hunters aware of the program.

The bottom line, is the program, which last year supplied more than 66,000 pounds of donated venison to food pantries across the state is struggling. For the past two years, the program has run several thousand dollars in the red and this year undoubtedly will be no different.

On a positive note, Greg Fuerst, of Bath N.Y., the program’s director, noted this coming fall “it’ll be business as usual.” However, the future is uncertain.

In addition to Trent Murphy, the program’s financial situation has also caught the attention of the Greater Rochester Southern Tier branch of the Quality Deer Management Association.

The group has agreed to match donations to the coalition dollar for dollar up to $1,000. The group has set a goal of raising more than $2,000.

“A $1 donation will provide four servings, which means if we reach our goal we can help serve 8,000-plus meals,” the group said in a news release. A GoFundMe site has been set up accept donations.

Individuals can also donate directly to the Vension Donation Coalition program through its website or by mail to Venison Donation Coalition Inc., 3 Pulteney Square, Bath, N.Y. 14810.

***For more Upstate New York outdoors on Facebook, go to Upstate NY Outdoors on NYup.com. We’d appreciate a “like.”

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