South Otago farmers Lyndon and Jade McNab and their three children.
A South Otago farmer who has donated almost 6000 mince meals to food banks across the country through Meat the Need says giving back to those who need it most is part of his DNA.
Lyndon and Jade McNab farm between Balclutha and Owaka, running just over 6000 ewes and 700 beef cows across 3200 hectares.
The third generation of his family to run the farm since 1953, Lyndon said he was aware of the privilege and responsibility that came with it.
His involvement with Meat the Need started in 2020 and since then the family had donated around 6000 mince meals to food banks across the country.
“We’re very aware of the privilege of our circumstances, particularly around access to animal protein but in all sectors of life as a multi-generational farming family,” McNab said.
“There are no significant challenges of being able to afford basic daily requirements and that’s absolutely not something that we take for granted.”
Looking at the life their three children lead, McNab said he felt an obligation to try to level that playing field by donating nutritious protein.
“We’re very, very fortunate and I’ve always felt the need to earn and repay that privilege a little bit, to pass it on to some of the wider community and kids.”
Meat the Need is gearing up to host its annual rural telethon The Big Feed on December 14 this year.
McNab encouraged other farmers to get behind the cause.
“It pays to keep in mind that when we’re struggling as farmers and often landowners, people in less fortunate circumstances are struggling at an exponentially higher level, generally.
“When our income drops a bit, everyone on a minimum wage job feels the rising cost a lot more than we are.”
Meat the Need was the perfect way for McNab to help others because he was donating products from his own farm.
“I like the idea of being able to help out families that are struggling, I can’t imagine how horrible it must feel to have brought children into the world and then find, often through no fault of your own, that it’s a struggle to be able to provide something as rudimentary as sustenance and it’s nice to be able to ease that burden a little bit.”
When they took over the farm, the McNabs were looking for ways to donate their produce themselves at a much smaller scale, but were finding food safety roadblocks hard to overcome.
“When we found out about Meat the Need, we were pretty chuffed and we got involved straight away by making donations when we felt we could afford them,” McNab said.
The couple also came on board as Meat the Need champions, volunteering their time to help spread the word and raise awareness of the work the charity does.