Hunt.Fish.Feed.SM Twin Cities

Posted by MNAngler On March - 1 - 2010

I had the opportunity to participate in a very cool initiative last Sunday. It was called Hunt.Fish.Feed.SM put on by the Sportsman Channel, Safari Club International Foundation, and Comcast.

Hunt.Fish.Feed.SM is a program to encourage sportsmen to donate their extra meat from hunting and fishing harvests to their local hunger relief organizations. They are in their second year and this year they started in Las Vegas. Their visit to the Twin Cities was their second stop in the 2010 national tour and they will visit eight more cities before the year is out.

Here in the Twin Cities, Hunt.Fish.Feed.SM actually started on Saturday by partnering with the ever popular FISHAPALOOZA on Forest Lake. They attended the annual fishing tournament and encouraged participants to donate their catches to feed the homeless the next day. Participants must have done very well because we had 35 lbs of fresh fish to work with on Sunday.

When I got to the Catholic Charities Dorothy Day Center, a homeless shelter in St. Paul, on Sunday morning, I was surprised to find about 40 volunteers ready to prepare meals. There were so many of us, the organizers couldn’t find jobs for all of us to do. But after a while, each volunteer found a place to contribute.

I saw volunteers making huge batches of Nilgai (I had no idea what it was either–thank you, Wikipedia) chili, frying fish, opening huge cans of green beans, and doing something with industrial sized cans of tomato sauce. It was a bit chaotic at first, but it didn’t take long for everyone to get into the groove.

I worked at (of course) the fish station. They had boxes and boxes of frozen pollack fillets in addition to the FISHAPALOOZA fish. I partnered up with Todd, a professional fireman and scuba store owner from Fairbault, Minnesota. We unpacked about 5 or 6 boxes of the frozen pollack, spread the fish out on giNORmous cookie sheets, slathered them with butter, and sprinkled paprika and oregano on them. All told, we probably filled 10 cookie sheets with fillets. They were later baked in one of two industrial ovens, or fried on a skillet. When we were done, we helped another pair of guys prepare the fillets from FISHAPALOOZA. We dipped them in butter, coated them with cornmeal, and sprinkled paprika and oregano on them as well. These fillets were deep fried at another station.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for the serving to see the smiles of the approximately 200 people benefiting from all the hard work the few hours before. But I’m sure the “residents” of the shelter were happy to get such a great meal.

I was pleased to be able to help out and meet some cool people like my fellow fish chef, Todd, and fellow Twin Cities bloggers Ben G. of Ben G. Outdoors and Jim Braaten of the Sportsman’s Blog.

I think the Hunt.Fish.Feed. organizers were even surprised at how many people showed up to help out in the Twin Cities. As they get publicity and traction, the number of volunteers is sure to increase in the coming years. They may have to start pre-registration of volunteers and split them between multiple shelters, or divide them up in multiple days. That would give them a chance to look at what needs to be done at each event and be able to direct volunteer resources to the jobs available.

Having never been to a homeless shelter before I wasn’t sure what to expect. I thought people would be out and about in the city and start to gather and line up around 11:00 when they knew a hot meal would be served. I was surprised to see 50-60 people already hanging out in the shelter at 9:30am when I got there. By the time I left at 11:30am, the number of people in and out of the shelter easily numbered more than a hundred. I found out later that they served about 200 meals. It’s unfortunate to see so many needing help, but it’s nice to see shelters like these in the city able to get them a hot meal.

The Hunt.Fish.Feed. concept is a great idea. I’m always hearing of sportsmen with too much venison, geese, or pheasant. May already donate their extra game meat to food shelves, but many don’t even think about it. Encouraging fellow sportsmen to donate these surpluses to hunger relief efforts keeps extras from going to waste and helps those that are temporarily down and out. It’s a win-win for everybody.

[Author’s note: A big thanks to Jim Braaten of the Sportsman’s Blog and Michelle Scheuermann of the Sportsman Channel for providing pictures for this post. My hands were a bit too goobered to pull out a camera.]

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5 Responses to “Hunt.Fish.Feed.SM Twin Cities”

  1. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for coming out!! It was a bit crazy at times, but we are used to “organized chaos” at shelters. And the fishing tournament on Sat was a new concept for us – one that I hope we can duplicate in other markets.

  2. Fish Posters says:

    This is a great idea, I hope it catches on . well done.

  3. Natalie Lam says:

    It’s wonderful that you got involved in such a worthy cause. Bravo!

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