Meat the Need has been feeding hungry Kiwis for three years now, providing millions of nutritious protein-based meals to families.
The charity began in early 2020 with the support of its founding partner, Silver Fern Farms.
First piloted in Canterbury, Meat the Need accepted donations of livestock from farmers. The meat was processed and packaged by Silver Fern Farms and sent to food banks in the region.
“From there, it took off. We had an overwhelming response from farmers in other regions who also wanted to donate livestock,” co-founder Wayne Langford said.
“We are now a nationwide charity that has provided 1.9 million milk meals and 1.2m mince meals to families in need.”
Not only are farmers able to donate livestock, but Meat the Need’s sister programme, Feed Out, allows farmers to donate milk.
“Feed Out is the same concept, except it’s about giving all New Zealanders access to milk; something that’s never been done before due to the challenges of processing. This allows dairy farmers to play their part in helping to address the high levels of food insecurity in New Zealand,” Langford said.
Feed Out has partnered with Miraka and Fonterra to make milk donations possible. Both mince and milk donations are supplied to over 110 food banks and community organisations nationwide.
“It is incredible to see the impact the agricultural sector is making on communities throughout New Zealand,” Langford said.
“Food banks are tremendously grateful for every farmer donation that comes through their door; it is making a massive difference to the families they support.”
Three years in and the charity is not stopping there.
“Our three-year anniversary has been an exciting milestone for us,” operations manager Sarah Gagliardi said.
“From here we have some even loftier goals, which we know we can achieve with farmers’ support.
“In the next year alone, we aim to provide food banks with another 1 million mince meals and 2 million litres of milk.”
In the coming year, Meat the Need will increase the number of food banks it supplies and set up another livestock donation process through ANZCO. This means farmers who supply ANZCO will be able to donate some of what they produce, too.
Meat the Need will finish 2023 off with a bang as it once again hosts the Big Feed Rural Telethon.
“The telethon was such a hit last year where we saw farmers, businesses and members of the public donate 1.2 million meals on one day,” Gagliardi said.
“We want to thank every farmer who has donated either livestock or milk over the past three years. It really is making a positive difference to families doing it tough right now.
“Numerous food banks have told us their demand is up by at least 30% compared to this time last year. Farmer contributions are incredibly valued and their contributions are needed now, more than ever,” she said.