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Giving Thanks and Just Plain Giving

While the actual Thanksgiving Day has just passed, that single day to many signals not just a day but a season of being thankful, sharing time with family and friends and celebrating all of the good things in our lives. Thanksgiving Day marks the beginning of the holiday season that runs through to Christmas and New Year’s Day. Christmas music is being played constantly on some radio stations, advertisements with Christmas in mind are popping up everywhere, and travel plans are being made to get together with loved ones.

Giving Thanks: No, giving thanks is not something that should be reserved for just one day a year. It seems as though these days, there is an ever-increasing amount of difficulty, strife, and hardships that befall a growing number of people around us. You may have had personal hardships that have come your way recently – but no matter how dark the clouds are around us, there is always a silver lining!

I know of a family that not too long ago lost a very popular and well-revered family member to an extremely emotional and tragic ending. While there were deep emotional feelings endured by the remainder of the family, in the end, dozens of family members were drawn more closely to each other and, to this day, remain stronger and closer because of the tragedy that occurred. Many Thanksgivings have passed since that loss, but, as a family, thanks are given each year since for the “silver lining” of the strength that was gained through that loss.

Even outside family and close friends, we don’t have to look far to realize the many things we have that we can be thankful for. As outdoor enthusiasts, and particularly living here in Northcentral Pennsylvania, we can be particularly thankful for the bounties that this surrounding area provides us. Our nearby streams and rivers offer world-class destinations for fishing for trout, bass, walleyes, and Northern pike. Our hunting seasons allow us to pursue both small and big game in some surroundings that rival the most popular destinations throughout the entire United States. Hiking trails, biking trails, and kayak and canoeing waterways provide miles of travel opportunities and exercise in our great outdoors.

In the crazy pace of today’s world and the ever-crazier things that happen all around us, take time to get outside and enjoy the wonders in Mother Nature’s world and take time to give thanks for the beauty that surrounds us. Don’t just do it on Thanksgiving Day or just throughout the holiday season, but do it often – as often as you can. Just in this past year, we’ve seen more than enough natural disasters, man-made conflicts, and other unnecessary examples of the cruelty we’re capable of inflicting on our own kind. Yet, we are thankful to have made it this far in a year that could accurately be best described as “challenging.” It has been “one of those years” – you know, the kind you’d probably like to forget but can’t! Be positive, be optimistic, and look for the silver lining – and take time to give thanks.

Just Plain Giving:

Since 1991, Hunters Sharing the Harvest (HSH), has been responsible for channeling about 2.3 million pounds of deer meat donated by Pennsylvania hunters to food banks, soup kitchens, and churches for distribution to those in need. These donations have provided more than 10 million servings of healthy, lean, and high-protein venison meals to those in need. Last year, Pennsylvania deer hunters broke previous records of donations, and our state led the nation in venison donations and shattered our previous record with 235,532 pounds of venison donated from 6,201 deer statewide!

All of this has been possible thanks to a growing network of hunters who donate the venison, processors, and volunteer coordinators, as well as those who make financial contributions to the organization.
How can you donate venison?

When hunters donate a deer, they simply take it to one of the more than 100 deer processors across Pennsylvania who participate in the HSH program. There is no fee to the hunter because generous HSH-supporter businesses, agencies, and individual donors pay the butcher’s processing fees through program sponsorship. Processors grind all donated venison into burger because it is the most versatile way to use the meat. Foodbank volunteers or area coordinators pick up the frozen ground meat for distribution to the hungry.

If you are lucky enough to have taken a deer and supplied your freezer for the upcoming months, consider donating a future deer to the HSH program for use by the needy, many of whom do not or cannot hunt.

To obtain more information about HSH and how to donate a deer or to locate nearby meat processors or area coordinators, go to, email or call them at 866-HSH-2141.