Friday, February 23, 2024

Brown Buttabean ready to KO hunger

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Letele steps into the ring for The Big Feed rural telethon.
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Hosting a 14-hour live telethon is a step outside of the comfort zone for Brown Buttabean’s Dave Letele, but he lives his life doing whatever he can to help others and jumped at the opportunity. 

The founder of Brown Buttabean Motivation (BBM) and the BBM Foodbank is stepping up to the plate for The Big Feed rural telethon, raising mince and milk meals for food banks across the country. 

He’s hosting the online live event alongside celebrity TV host Matt Chisholm and Meat the Need co-founder Wayne Langford for 14 hours from 6am on Thursday, December 14. 

 “It’s going to be epic, it should be really good fun while also raising awareness and highlighting some really important conversations we need to be having in Aotearoa about food poverty,” Letele said. 

Farmer-led charity Meat the Need and Feed Out are presenting The Big Feed, aiming to raise enough for 1.2 million mince and milk meals for more than 110 food banks and community organisations across the country.

Speaking of his co hosts, he said hopefully one of them knows what they’re doing.

 “It’s definitely going to be organic. Last year Wayne had his head shaved on live TV so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store this year,” he said. 

The Big Feed will feature live interviews with celebrities and sports stars including Te Radar, Dai Henwood, Matt Watson, Erin Simpson, Shiray and Gillies Kaka, as well as panel discussions on food insecurity with Dr Rebekah Graham, food banks nationwide and those who have experienced food shortages or undernutrition. 

The hosts will be challenged during the event with assault courses, gladiator challenges, classic egg-and-spoon races, burger making, apple bobbing, testing their make-up skills and more. 

Dares including crazy haircuts, hair dyes and tattoos are being auctioned off to raise money. 

BBM Foodbank is one of the recipients of Meat the Need products, food that makes up part of a balanced food parcel and is a huge relief for families to receive, Letele said. 

 “You can see them smiling, the smile says it all when they know they’re going to have meat in there, probably for the first time in a while for some families. There’s no point giving rice or pasta if there’s no meat to go with it, it goes with everything,” he said.  With food insecurity and poverty on the rise, the BBM Foodbank cannot keep up with demand and is having to limit numbers coming through the doors to 50 families per day. 

 “It’s not just people that have always needed a food bank every week, now we’re seeing middle-class and working class families needing assistance.” 

With the price of everything increasing, from food, to rent, electricity and petrol, he said families often don’t have any money left in the tank.  

“The cost of living is huge for families who don’t have any buffer zone day today. Never mind week to week, it’s a struggle to get from day to day. With no buffer all it takes is a broken-down car, a flat tyre or a dentist to need a service like us.” 

The Big Feed, he said, is something that’s hugely important for New Zealand to get in behind and donate to by texting “feed” to 3493 to make an automatic $3 donation, or for farmers to pledge livestock, milk or funds online. 

 “If Meat the Need couldn’t do what it does, it would leave a massive hole for food banks around the country.” 

 Letele’s message to NZ is to get in behind The Big Feed this week, tune in, spread the message and donate to help those who need it. 

 “There shouldn’t be any hungry kids in New Zealand and unfortunately there’s far too many. 

 “If you can help, please do. You will always be blessed in return, tenfold, it always comes back around.” 

 The Big Feed will be streaming live on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and at meattheneed.org

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