Tuesday, 12 December 2023 16:55

14-hour live telethon to raise protein meals for food banks

Written by  Staff Reporters
Meat the Need co-founder and Big Feed co-host Wayne Langford, Meat the Need Board member Shaheen Junge, BBM and Big Feed host Dave Letele, BBM's Rob Campbell and Fonterra's Amavi Mey. Meat the Need co-founder and Big Feed co-host Wayne Langford, Meat the Need Board member Shaheen Junge, BBM and Big Feed host Dave Letele, BBM's Rob Campbell and Fonterra's Amavi Mey.

Hosting a 14-hour live telethon is a step outside of the comfort zone for Brown Buttabean’s Dave Letele, but he still jumped at the opportunity.

The founder of Brown Buttabean Motivation (BBM) and BBM Food Bank is stepping up to the plate for The Big Feed rural telethon, raising mince and milk meals for food banks across the country.

He’s hosting the online event alongside TV host and mental health advocate Matt Chisholm and Meat the Need co-founder Wayne Langford for 14 hours from 6am on Thursday.

“It’s going to be epic, it should be really good fun while also raising awareness and highlighting some really important conversations we need to be having in Aotearoa about food poverty,” says Letele.

Farmer-led charity Meat The Need and Feed Out are presenting The Big Feed, aiming to raise 1.2 million mince and milk meals for more than 110 food banks and community organisations around New Zealand.

Speaking of his co-hosts, Letele says hopefully one of them knows what they’re doing.

“It’s definitely going to be organic, last year Wayne [Langford had his head shaved on live TV so I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in story this year,” he says.

The Big Feed will feature live interviews from celebrities and sports stars including Te Radar, Dai Henwood, Matt Watson, Erin Simpson, Shiray and Gillies Kaka, as well as panel discussions on food insecurity with Dr Rebekah Graham, food banks nationwide and those with lived experience.

The hosts will be challenged during the telethon with assault courses, gladiator challenges, classic egg and spoon races, burger making, apple bobbing, testing their make-up skills and more.

Meanwhile, dares including crazy haircuts, hair dyes and tattoos are being auctioned off for the hosts to raise money.

BBM Food Bank is one of the recipients of Meat the Need products, food which makes up part of a balanced food parcel which Letele says is a huge relief for families to receive.

“You can see them smiling, the smile says it all when they know they’re going to have meat in there, probably for the first time in a while for some families,” he says. “There’s no point giving rice or pasta if there’s no meat to go with it, it goes with everything.”

With food insecurity and poverty on the rise, the BBM food bank cannot keep up with demand and is having to limit numbers coming through the doors to 50 families per day.

 “It’s not just people that have always needed a food bank every week, now we’re seeing middle-class and working-class families needing assistance.”

 With the prices of everything increasing from food prices, to rent, electricity and petrol, he says families often don’t have any finances left in the tank. 

 “The cost of living is huge for families who don't have any buffer zone day to day, never mind week to week, it's a struggle to get from day to day. With no buffer, all it takes is a broken-down car, a flat tire or a dentist to need a service like us.”

The Big Feed, he says, is hugely important for New Zealand to get in behind and donate to by texting “feed” to 3493 to make an automatic $3 donation, or for farmers to pledge livestock, milk or funds online. 

“If Meat the Need couldn’t do what it does, it would leave a massive hole for food banks around the country. 

The way Letele lives his life is that if he can help, he does.

His message to New Zealand is to get behind The Big Feed this week, tune in, spread the message and donate to help those who need it. 

“There shouldn't be any hungry kids in New Zealand and unfortunately there's far too many.” 

“If you can help, please do. You will always be blessed in return, tenfold, it always comes back around.” 

The Big Feed will be streaming live on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and at meattheneed.org this Thursday.

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