Monday, 11 December 2023 15:55

Farmers help fill Waimate and Oamaru food banks with protein

Written by  Staff Reporters
Waimate dairy farmers Cara and John Gregan have supplied around 5,000 mince meals and $12,000 worth of meals to local food banks through their generous donations and fundraising efforts. Waimate dairy farmers Cara and John Gregan have supplied around 5,000 mince meals and $12,000 worth of meals to local food banks through their generous donations and fundraising efforts.

A dairy farmer who has donated more than 5,000 mince meals to food banks is urging other farmers to think about supporting their local communities through The Big Feed live rural telethon.

John Gregan milks 650 cows with his wife Cara under the Hunter Hills near Waimate and the pair have donated a large number of cattle beasts to charity Meat the Need.

Gregan recently spent the day at Oamaru Churches Food Bank as part of The Big Feed, seeing first-hand the difference his donations are making in his local community.

“These food banks are a lifeline for people who are suffering from food poverty,” Gregan says.

“It was definitely a reality check, you tend to live in your own little world a bit and it was eye-opening  to see just how important giving really is.”

The Oamaru Churches Food Bank supplies food parcels to around 27 families every Friday and at the moment, is running relatively low on food.

“They really appreciate the meat that comes in, they can't get it from anywhere else and it’s too expensive to buy in so as a farmer, it’s great to be able to donate that. For a country that feeds 50 million people it would be a real shame if we couldn’t feed our own,” he says.

Gregan first got involved with Meat the Need in 2020 and also came on board as a “Champion”, raising awareness of the charity.

He liked the model of the charity and the fact that 100% of what farmers donate is provided directly to food banks and community organisations in the form of mince and milk meals.

“It makes sense, in a country that’s feeding 40 to 50 million people that we should be able to feed our own as well, especially those who need it most and the majority of farmers up and down the country would agree with that,” he says.

Gregan says donating produce is easy, as you just pledge how much you want to give and Meat the Need and Silver Fern Farms take care of all the admin.

“It’s not too difficult to donate your meat or milk and you won’t really miss it. It’s giving our communities and food banks a product that they need and want, that’s really high in protein.

“They’re products that we’re proud of and we’re providing communities that need them, and we should be really proud to be able to do that too,” he says.

Gregan also raised approximately $12,000 for the charity by hosting a fundraising Golf Day in Waimate earlier this year with the funds going towards mince and milk meals for the Waimate food bank.

He rang around local businesses to gather support and help sponsor the event, putting money behind holes and an auction – which also included auctioning himself off for free labour.

“Our bank manager bought us and made us go and tail lambs so it wasn’t all that bad,” he laughed.

“As a farmer, it’s amazing the number of people in the business community that you cross paths with who were all keen to get on board and support,” he says. “It was such a good way to raise awareness of Meat the Need and get the name out there in the community.”

The Big Feed live rural telethon kicks off on Thursday December 14th for 14 hours from 6am, hosted by Matt Chisholm, Wayne Langford and Dave Letele.

Donations of livestock, milk, virtual animals or funds can be made online at as part of The Big Feed now. 

Donations can also be made by texting “feed” to 3493 to automatically give $3 now, or by calling 0800 632 884 on the day. 

The Big Feed will be streaming live on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and at

More like this

Meat the Need!

OPINION: A plug is overdue for Meat the Need, who is currently fundraising to help supply more meals to families in need.


Red tape 'blocking access to crop production products'

Outgoing chief executive of Horticulture New Zealand, Nadine Tunley has taken a swipe at government agencies for the “costly and lengthy regulatory approval process” to get new crop protection products registered.

Farmers back ACT MP's bill

ACT MP and Northland dairy farmer Mark Cameron is lodging a new member’s bill that would prevent regional and district councils from regulating greenhouse gas emissions.


Govt unveils climate strategy

The Government has launched its new Climate Strategy, which it says is a comprehensive and ambitious plan to reduce the…

Machinery & Products

More efficient jumbo wagons

In a move that will be welcomed by many, Austrian manufacturer Pottinger appears to be following a trend of bringing…

Fieldays' top young innovator

Growing up on a South Waikato sheep and beef farm, Penny Ranger has firsthand experience on the day-to-day challenges.

Claas completes 500,000th machine

Claas is celebrating half a million combine harvesters built since 1936, marking the occasion by building anniversary machines from the…

Donated tractors welcome news

When Cyclone Gabrielle hit in February 2023, it left an estimated $13.5 billion worth of damage across New Zealand.

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Fieldays focused

OPINION: Your old mate had a wee crack at Fieldays recently for the perception it was more focused on quantity…

'Woke madness'

OPINION: Real estate agent Janet Dickson's court case, following her refusal to complete a compulsory Māori culture course, is being watched…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter