A charity has been set up by farmers to help put food on the tables of hungry Kiwis.

South Island farmers Siobhan O’Malley and Wayne Langford created Meat the Need to connect donated produce from farmers with processors and food banks. 

Originally scheduled for a June launch, the big day was brought forward to help farmers reach those hit hardest by the economic fallout of the coronavirus lockdown.

“There are a lot of people in need at the moment so it seemed like a good time to get things going,” explained Langford.

A year in the making, Meat the Need, aims to smooth out supply for food banks so they get quality food in regular amounts, and allow farmers to give at seasonal times when they are able. 

The idea came to Langford, who has a large social media following through his  @YoloFarmerNZ accounts, after an act of giving.

“Every day I look to do something to say that I’ve lived for that day,” Langford said of his you only live once (yolo) philosophy. “On this day, after giving meat to our local food bank, I realised how little it would take to help those in need in our local communities.” 

The first initiative to roll out would be 500 gram packets of frozen beef mince to food banks.

Siobhan O’Malley noted that farmers often donate produce to people in need but there hadn’t been a scheme to connect the dots between willing farmers and community organisations in need of a regular, reliable supply.

“We wanted to design a process that allowed the food banks to plan and receive meat in a regular way, but that farmers can donate whenever they have the ability,” said O’Malley.

Farmers can donate livestock via the Meat the Need website, or through Silver Fern Farms stock agents.