Tracey Pirie from Hope Community Trust says that protein is an item that has gone off a lot of people's grocery lists as the cost of living crisis hits families across the country.
"There's no middle income any more.
"For middle-class, hardworking people, that dollar is not going as far as it used to, and it's not because of lack of budgeting.
"It's because there's just enough money coming in."
Two North Canterbury hunters are trying to make a difference and have come up with a unique solution.
Steve Hill and Adam Kreisel have begun Hunters4Hope, which gives hunters the opportunity to donate excess venison to food banks.
The idea came about as Hill noticed how much meat was going to waste when he was hunting with mates and seeing a similar venture on social media overseas, Hill began making enquiries.
He contacted New Zealand Food Safety to see if there was a way to donate meat with current legislation.
"We've taken advice, and there a few rules and regulations that we have to abide by, but if we meet those requirements, we can do this legitimately."
Hunters can drop excess venison to freezers at various drop off points throughout the region.
Hill, a livestock agent, keen hunter and former butcher, processes the venison into mince, which is donated to Hope Community Trust in Rangiora for distribution to local food banks.
"What we expect is somebody to go and shoot a deer, keep the prime cuts for themselves, and donate the residual trimmings to the food bank," Hill says.
Hill approached the North Canterbury Hunting Competition and arranged for 50 deer to be donated from the event.
That resulted in around one tonne of meat donated to the trust.
Tracey Pirie said the donation had made a "huge difference".
"It's allowed us to give people more meat than we've been able to.
"And it's good quality, low fat, easy to cook, and you can use it for anything you'd use normal meats."
Pirie sees the trust as a vehicle to distribute the venison to other organisations and people in need.
Hill plans to supply 500 kilograms of meat per month, which Pirie describes as a "game changer".
"Our job is to be a good steward and pass that on.
"We know other food banks are spending a fortune on meat each week."
Pirie says food banks need to look for solutions outside the box and describes Hill as a "visionary".
"He's not just happy to wait.
"He will make things happen."
by Claire Inkson