15 Dec 2022

Rural telethon launches to supply meat to city missions and foodbanks

6:47 am on 15 December 2022
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Meat the Need founder Wayne Langford Photo: RNZ/Carol Stiles

The country's first rural telethon with the ambitious aim of raising one million meals to help fill foodbanks for an entire year has begun this morning.

The Big Feed, run by the Meat the Need charity, which supplies meat to city missions and food banks, began at 6am.

Farmers, growers and members of the public can pledge to donate livestock, milk and other produce during the 13-and-a-half hour telethon.

Meat the Need founder Wayne Langford said the event would be livestreamed via the charity's social media channels and there were plenty of opportunities for people to get involved.

"We've got donations of livestock coming in, we've got donations of milk from farmers coming in, we've got the opportunity to name virtual animals online on our website," Langford said.

"There's all kinds of options and fun things happening within the studio based at Lincoln University," he said.

"Virtual cows are a donation which goes into our food fund and 100 percent of that food fund is used to turn that product into months of milk, which goes directly to food banks all across New Zealand."

Langford said the target of raising one million meals, which was the same amount the charity had provided to food services over the past two years, in just one day was ambitious, but he was confident it could be done.

"Right now is a really tough time for New Zealanders and it has been really throughout the whole Covid 19 pandemic," he said.

"Our aim is not to solve food poverty or anything like that, but our aim is to is to help those that really need it because, as farmers and growers, I mean that's what we do.

"We produce food and with the amount of food we produce in this country, no one should go hungry and that's what this is all about."

The telethon will run until 7.30pm.