Local processor gives back to troops and food pantries
Most sportsmen these days don’t need to hunt to keep food on the table. But one local deer processor is giving hunters the opportunity to feed the hungry and do something special for our military troops at the same time.
Colin Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Deer processing, just south of Big Rapids, said that if a hunter will donate their whole deer to Sportsman against Hunger, not only will he process it for free (a $75 value) and distribute it to area food pantries, but he will take certain parts of it and turn it into Jerky for the Troops, which will be sent to service men and women, wherever they are stationed.
“We have sent over 2,000 pounds of jerky around the world,” said Kelly. “I’m getting phone calls from Iraq and Afghanistan saying, ‘Thanks, send me more.’ I’ve had a lot of fun with it. It brings a lot of pleasure to me to give these kids a taste of home.”
Kelly allows families of troops to purchase the jerky at cost any time of the year (while supplies last) to send to their loved one. He also does a bulk mailing in late January, in conjunction with a Big Buck awards banquet. Family members come in and fill the box with personal items, and then Kelly’s fills it up with jerky, hunting magazines, etc. He said that uniformed soldiers in the ROTC at Ferris or uniformed soldiers who have previously received the jerky come in and help label it for troops. “They received it and now they are helping send it. They’ve come full circle,” he said.
Kelly’s has also been involved in Sportsman Against Hunger for several years. They have distributed almost 200,000 pounds of venison to food pantries and soup kitchens all across Michigan. “We are here supporting our community,” noted Kelly. As an example, they will soon be catering 770 free meals for their local national guard, who is being deployed. “We do get involved quite a bit,” he said.
For more information, visit Kelly’s website at www.kellysdeerprocessing.com, or call 231-796-5414.