Farmer charity group Meat the Need gearing up for busy processing season

The charity has been "overwhelmed with support" by farmers.
The charity has been "overwhelmed with support" by farmers. Photo credit: Getty

A charity helping farmers donate meat to vulnerable communities is gearing up for a busy processing season ahead.

Meat the Need was launched in April, and allows farmers to donate an animal to the charity. That animal is then sold and the proceeds go towards buying premium mince, which is delivered to foodbanks.

Co-founder Wayne Langford says the charity has been "overwhelmed with support" by farmers.

"It's always nerve wrecking setting up something a little out of the box like this, wondering whether farmers will get on board with donations," Langford said on Tuesday. 

"To see them coming in the way they have is just fantastic, I'm so thankful."

More than 600 animals have been donated in the past four months, he said. SilverFern Farms also donated five tonnes of mince to help launch the initiative.

"In total that’s over 325,000 meals already donated by farmers for those who, for one reason or another, are doing it tough at this time," Langford said.

Co-founder Siobhan O'Malley says most of the donations have come from the South Island, as farmers in many parts of the North Island have struggled with drought and tough conditions this year.

"This charity was set up for farmers to donate if and when they can. We understand no year is the same as the last and we can appreciate the extremely dry conditions in the North last season," O'Malley said.

Since it launched, Meat the Need has branched out across the South Island, and it's now possible to donate meat in some locations in the North island, such as Palmerston North, Paeroa and Rotorua, with more places planned for September.

The charity is currently preparing for the busy processing season and hopes farmers' generosity continues.

"As farmers we are really proud of what we produce, and we want to share just a small part of that with our communities to help ensure they are happy and healthy," Langford said.