Taranaki in need of 46,000 meals

The only charity in the country that donates a continuous supply of protein to those who need it most, is in desperate need of a helping hand to feed Taranaki.   

Farmer led charity Meat the Need and Feed Out facilitate donations of livestock, milk and cash to turn into mince and milk meals for those who need it most.  

It supports nine food banks and community organisations in Taranaki, but a surge in demand has placed immense pressure on the charity, which needs another 46,000 meals for the region, this year.  

General Manager Zellara Holden says times are tough for everyone right now. 

“There’s been a 40% increase in demand for food support services nationwide and we currently have more than 100 food banks and community organisations on our waiting list. And the list is growing weekly.”  

“We would love to be able to help as many as we can, but right now we are struggling to keep up with 115 food banks and organisations already nationwide.” 

Calling for donations, Zellara said a little bit went a long way, with the donation of one cattle beast enough to create more than 500 meals and one milk solid equivalent for more than two meals.  

Farmers can donate livestock (cattle, sheep, lamb and deer) or milk, and anyone can donate cash. It’s easy – just pop onto meattheneed.org.  

Donations can also be made by texting FEED to 2662 to give $3 instantly and feed a family.  

100% of donations get turned into mince and milk meals. 

New Plymouth Foodbank Manager Sharon Wills said they’ve been able to reduce their spending on meat and also ensure they provide a healthy protein option in food parcels being a Meat the Need and Feed Out recipient.


“We ask foodbank clients if there is anything they need most, and the top three items are meat, toilet paper and milk. By including meat and milk, clients can then spend any budgeted funds on other items we can’t supply,” she said.  

In 2023 they distributed 3,816 food parcels, and a steady increase has seen 1,620 food parcels supplied in the first four months of this year alone.  

“We are a community led foodbank, for the community by the community. People who come to us for assistance are the neighbours, family, work colleagues and friends of all of us.”  

Taranaki Retreat are also recipients, which allows them to offer hot home cooked meals for koha or no payment at all.  

“We have a growing number of homeless people that visit our cafe daily, as well as many others who pay what they can afford. The number of people unable to pay even our low 'suggested koha' has definitely grown over the past year,” Services Manager Suzy Allen said.   

Making good food accessible to those going through tough times is extremely important, she said, with mince-based meals one of the favourites they offer.   

“Meat can be an expensive luxury and yet provides key nutrition.  We massively appreciate the support of Meat the Need so that we can continue to offer good food to everyone in our area, with no judgement.” 

Waitara Pataka Kai have also been averaging 400 food parcels per month for the last year, seeing a lot more first time and new clients.  

The 500 gram packs of mince that are provided are enough to make dinner for six people, they said.  

“Meat is often the thing left at the supermarket when times are tough. Having Meat the Need products means our clients can have at least one meat meal within their Kai parcel.” 

Many of their clients are amazed to receive meat, with some feedback including how excited kids get about having bolognaise for dinner and how versatile it is for cooking all sorts of meals.  

Meat the Need and Feed Out are proudly supported by founding partner Silver Fern Farms and processors Miraka and Fonterra.