The charity, which aims to feed New Zealanders through livestock donations from farmers, has been in the pipeline for over a year. However, due to COVID-19 putting more pressure on foodbanks, co-founders Wayne Langford and Siobhan O’Malley decided to launch early.
The pair, both living in the Tasman region, met up around 18 months ago and started swapping ideas. Wayne had given food to his local food bank and it got him thinking about how farmers could help food banks on a larger scale.
Siobhan says that it never felt right that New Zealand produces so much food per capita, yet there are still people going hungry.
“It's the one thing New Zealand should be able to provide to all our people. And that's what farmers do at a fundamental level; they produce food.”
Wayne and Siobhan tested the idea and pitched it all over the country to find the right partners to work with.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) is proud to support this charity and encourages farmers who have the capacity to donate. Other sponsors include Silver Fern Farms, DairyNZ and Federated Farmers.
Over the last few weeks, B+LNZ has been approached by many farmers wanting to give back during these times, and this is a great opportunity and framework to do so.
After gaining a lot of industry support, and launching, Meat the Need’s first step is raising awareness and getting as much livestock donated as possible, especially as COVID-19 has increased demand on food banks.
How to help
Farmers can either donate livestock or a small cash donation on their website at https://meattheneed.org/
Siobhan says, they want farmers to donate a little of what they produce when they can and adds that there is no expectation for farmers who are under pressure themselves to donate.
“We only ask that when your circumstances allow it, that you join us however you can.”
Farmers and growers of all kinds are welcome to contact them about donating.
“If you cannot donate an animal right now, you can help by sharing the charity with your friends who may be able to help.”
Meet the co-founders
Wayne Langford and his wife are dairy farmers from Golden Bay, milking 250 cows once-a-day. Wayne sits as the National Vice Chair for Federated Farmers, Golden Bay Feds President, Primary ITO Stakeholders Council, Rural Service Centre Vice Chairman, and Te Whare Mahana Board Member. He is also known as the YOLOFarmer, a social media platform with a following of over 125,000 people.
Siobhan O’Malley and her husband Christopher are currently Hop growers and beef farmers in the Motueka Valley. In 2017, while living in Mid-Canterbury, they were crowned NZ Share Farmers of the Year at the NZ Dairy Industry Awards. Siobhan has several private business interests outside of the Ag sector and runs social media platform – Pukeko Pastures.