Think about this: providing enough meat to make more than half a million meals for people in need. That's over 100,000 pounds of meat, and much of it is venison.
That's the remarkable result of of Tom Cullimore's work through his effort called HOPE: Help Other People Eat.
Tom founded HOPE in 2004, inspiring hunters to donate their venison and other meat to shelters in the Lansing area.
“At that time in my life, in the area around here, there was a big, big hole for meat for the hungry,” Cullimore said. “You could get all kinds of cereals and stuff, but you’ve got to have some protein, you’ve got to have some meat in your life.”
After all these years of donated meals, Tom has announced he's retiring this year.
Tom Cullimore, founder of HOPE, and Mark Criss, director of the City Rescue Mission in Lansing, joined Stateside today.
“Prior to Tom’s involvement, we had a lot of pasta,” Criss said. “Tom allowed us to improve the quality of our meal by having more protein at almost every single meal.”
Cullimore’s efforts to involve hunters at food banks and shelters also brought in other donations and contributions. It's helped City Rescue Mission expand services from 50 beds to 160.
“It was a great awareness for people that support the mission, and so as the needs grew, the mission was able to meet more and more of those needs every single day," Criss said.
Cullimore said it was a “wonderful thing to do,” and that it’s been hard to take a step back.
“When you see people lined up with hardly any clothing on and it’s 10 degrees, that just rips you apart,” Cullimore said.
Listen above to hear how City Rescue Mission hopes to continue Cullimore's efforts, and continue collecting hunters' donations. Criss said hunters can donate their venison to Specialized Deer Processing Plus Inc.