JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — There’s still at least a month left in the deer-hunting season.
Rifle ends Saturday, with flintlock and late archery in January. As Eyewitness News reporter Cody Butler shows us, hunters still have time to donate a deer as part of Hunters Sharing the Harvest. We want to warn viewers, the video attached to this story may be disturbing to some.
Several deer at Smokin’ Joe’s Deli and Deer Processing in Jefferson Township hang ready to be cut up. Hunters will soon be able to enjoy venison hamburger, steaks, sausage, kielbasa and more.
“We average anywhere from 30 deer a day to maybe a hundred deer a day, depending on the day. Obviously weekends are better,” owner Joe Dombrowski said.
In some areas, harvesters can bag from one buck to three does a season. Hunters can choose to be part of Hunters Sharing the Harvest by donating their meat to people in need.
“You know, I was kind of shocked because you don’t really, unless you are involved with the food pantries, you really don’t see the need,” Dombrowski said.
Dombrowski joined the program more than five years ago.
“I am the processor for Wayne and Lackawanna Counties. I try and promote it all year,” Dombrowski said.
Through the program, Smokin’ Joe’s helps donate about 500 pounds of venison a week. That helps about 120 people a month at Hamlin Assembly of God.
“We have 160 pounds in the freezer behind us waiting for our December giveaway which will be the fourth Monday of the month,” Pastor Ken Claflin said.
The church has its own food pantry and is in its second year as a recipient of the program.
“When people are struggling financially, they eat out of cans, so I’m sure it is really nice to get some fresh food,” Claflin said.
Raymond Mitchell works with Hunters Sharing the Harvest to deliver the venison to several area food pantries in Wayne County.
“When you call them and show up, they are ecstatic over it. They say they can’t believe how much it helps,” Mitchell said.
Throughout the deer seasons, more than a ton of venison is donated out of this shop. If you are a hunter and would like to donate, all you have to do is find a participating processor.