Area deer hunters are often asked to donate venison to help feed the hungry, but they’re also urged to donate deer hides for use in the Veterans Leather Program. Lisa Widick, state spokeswoman for the Iowa Elks, says the state’s Elks lodges collected more than four-thousand deer hides for the program this past hunting season. The hides were trucked to a tannery in Missouri, then the finished leather is sent back to Iowa and the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown.
The leatherworking program is used as therapy for recovering veterans, but she says it’s entirely reliant on the charity of Iowa’s deer hunters.
Hunters who would like to donate hides should contact the nearest Iowa Elks lodge, and there’s a website (www.elks.org/lodges) where you can locate all 31 of them in the state.
A wide range of veteran-made products, including leather goods, ceramics and beadwork, are available to the public through the Iowa Veterans Home Gift Shop.