In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, The River Valley Longbeards, the Clermont County chapter of the National Wildlife Turkey Federation (NWTF), donated more than 100 turkeys to the Clermont County YWCA food pantry Nov. 21.
This year, the NWTF’s Turkey Hunters Care Program, which is in its fourth year, teamed up with the Clermont County 4-H Program and the Clermont County Farm Bureau to provide needy families in the area with not just turkeys, but a complete and traditional Thanksgiving meal.
“The River Valley Longbeards have been one of the 4-H shooting sports club major contributors of equipment and supplies since its inception four years ago,” said Longbeards president Dave Williamson.
Since the Longbeards provide the frozen turkeys, the 4-H Club wanted to donate all of the items needed for a traditional meal, including stuffing, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberries, etc.
4-H youth collected food and the Farm Bureau made a monetary donation to purchase even more food that was needed to complete the meal, Williamson said.
The partnership provided 108 full bagged meals to the YWCA this year.
"The goal is to provide local families in need with a traditional Thanksgiving meal," Williamson said. "If you can figure that there are five to six people in each family then our donation of 108 complete meals mean as many as 600 people could enjoy this year's holiday."
County OSU 4-H educator Kate Gross said that the more than 600 youth 4-Hers (in 30 clubs) who contributed and helped with this year's turkey donation wanted to help the community.
Along with 4-H, also contributing in the turkey hunter's care program was the Clermont County Soil and Water, the Clermont County Farm Bureau, and the OSU extension Clermont County.
"This is a wonderful avenue of community service for the young people in our community," Gross said. "Not everyone is able to have a Thanksgiving dinner and by collecting food we are teaching our youth how every little thing we do touches someone else's life."
Gross said that for at least one day, approximately 100 families in the county will not have to wonder where there next meal is coming from.
"We hope that this partnership continues to grow and expand in future years and that in the coming years we can even help more families have a great Thanksgiving, Gross said."
The NWTF, a non-profit organization, with 545,000 members, has local chapters in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, and 14 other countries.
Founded in 1973, the NWTF supports wildlife management on public, private, and corporate lands. It supports wild turkey hunting as a traditional American sport and since 1985, has spent more than $230 million upholding that tradition.