Farmers feeding thousands of Kiwis through Meat the Need

// Industry

Through the Meat the Need charity, farmers have provided more than 408,783 meals from over 883 donations in just one year. Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) talks to co-founder Siobhan O’Malley to reflect on a successful year and what’s next for the charity.

Since its inception early last year, Meat the Need has provided over 408,783 meals from over 883 donations to vulnerable people. The charity is nationwide and works to supply foodbanks with much-needed meat which is donated by farmers and processed and packaged with the help of Silver Fern Farms.

The charity was founded by South Island based farmers, Siobhan O’Malley of Pukeko Pastures and Wayne Langford, also known as the YOLO farmer. Together they discovered that while there was a need for such as organisation, there was never anyone connecting willing farmers and community foodbank together to create a regular supply chain.

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.

The impact of your donation

O’Malley says the process is simple. Farmers can donate cattle, sheep, and deer or make monetary donations online by donating a virtual animal or a cash value of their choice. This does not need to be limited to farmers, though. Anyone can make a monetary donation online at

For those who do decide to donate a virtual animal or cash should know that 100% of the funds go to the supply of mince.

“So, farmers know that 100% of what they share goes to the community, not our running costs.” O’Malley says.

For farmers that do decide to donate livestock, they can also start the process online or alternatively they can tell their livestock representative while booking other stock to go that they would like one or more of their animals donated to Meat the Need.

“They go away with the rest of your animals, or on their own if that is all you are sending. We send you the tax receipt for our charity, and 100% of the value of that stock goes into supplying mince to food banks.”

Silver Fern Farms then process and package the mince and incorporate it into their own supply chain to get the meat to where it needs to be.

“Some of our community organisations have a shared drop off point and they get together to collect their boxes of mince, and it has been a nice outcome that some of these smaller food banks have built relationships with each other as a result.”

“We have a huge number of smaller town food banks we supply, as our farmer donors often request that their donation feeds their local community first, and we are happy to arrange this.”

Next steps for Meat the Need

O’Malley says their next goal is to expand operations in the North Island more to match the size of the network they have already in the South Island. Their priority is to continue supplying regular, reliable deliveries to existing foodbank partners so that they can continue doing their important work.

“There are half a million Kiwis each year who suffer from food insecurity, so to supply them with 500g of mince in every food parcel is 250,000kg of mince. This is about 0.00001% of our total export volume, so we hope we can inspire farmers to give these Kiwi families a hand up and a hot meal. Donating one sheep, deer or cattle can literally impact hundreds of people or supply a small-town food bank for weeks or months.”

Meat the Need already work with community organisations such as City Missions, Salvation Army, Bellyful, Sir Michael Jones’ foodbank, Kai4Kids, several iwi organisations, and many small-town foodbanks.

More about Meat the Need