Meat the Need featured in Manawatū Standard: Farmer-founded charity fills food banks
Farmers around the country have been helping fill food banks for the past three years by supporting the Meat the Need charity.
A farmer-founded charity which started in 2020, it has just marked its third year of providing meals to families in need, including people in Manawatū.
Originally piloted in Canterbury, farmers were able to donate livestock, which was processed and packaged by Silver Fern Farms and sent to food banks in the region.
Co-founder Wayne Langford said it took off, and they had an overwhelming response from farmers in other regions who wanted to donate livestock.
Farmers can also donate milk through the sister programme Feed Out, which is done alongside Miraka and Fonterra.
“We are now a nationwide charity that has provided 1.9 million milk meals and 1.2 million mince meals to families in need,” Langford said.
The mince and milk powder donations are supplied to more than 110 food banks and community organisations.
“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.”
One of the food banks receiving milk and meat is the Salvation Army in Palmerston North, where welfare team leader Rae Semmens said they had seen an increase in demand, so the donations had made a big difference.
The milk powder and mince and sausages had proved popular, and offered people more options for meals.
“There’s just so much a family can make with these things. That’s been quite a key thing, just teaching some of them who haven’t had meat.
“Coming in here and receiving that has been really good for the families. With the milk powder I know we have supported community groups, and they have benefited from it.”
The Salvation Army, which also receives food from the New Zealand Food Network, provided food to 10 to 15 community agencies a week.
Meat the Need operations manager Sarah Gagliardi said the three-year anniversary was an exciting milestone, and they had loftier goals which they knew they could 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.”
Meat the Need will increase the number of food banks it supplies to and set up another livestock donation process through ANZCO.
Gagliardi said some food banks had told them demand was up by at least 30% compared with a year ago.
“Farmer contributions are incredibly valued, and their contributions are needed now more than ever.”