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Feed Families, Not Landfills

Food Donation Resources Exit EPA

Each year, Americans across the country are making difficult choices. Seniors are forced to choose between buying food or buying medicine; parents are forced to go hungry so their children don't, and working families are forced to choose between paying their utilities or putting food on the table. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, around 14 percent of American households do not get enough food to live active, healthy lifestyles. What makes this sad fact even harder to digest is this- a significant portion of the food tossed into our nations' landfills is wholesome, edible food. By redirecting that unspoiled food from the landfill to our neighbors in need, an organization can support its local community; reduce its environmental impact, and save money.

What Kind of Food Can Be Donated?

Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters. Typical food bank donors include large manufacturers, supermarket chains, wholesalers, farmers, food brokers, and organized community food drives. Perishable and prepared foods are typically collected from restaurants, caterers, corporate dining rooms, hotels, and other food establishments for prompt distribution to hungry people in their communities. Donated food includes leftovers from events and surplus food inventory. Check with your local food bank or food rescue operation (soup kitchen, shelter, etc.) to find out what items they will accept. Your local food bank will often pick up the donations free of charge, reducing warehouse storage and disposal costs.

Information on food safety Exit EPA can also be found on Food Donation Connection's website.

Where Can I Donate Food?

Food pantries, food banks, and food rescue programs are available across the country to collect food and redistribute it to those in need. Local and national programs frequently offer free pick-up and/or reusable containers to donors

Food banks are community-based, professional organizations that collect food from a variety of sources and save the food in warehouses. The food bank then distributes the food to hungry families and individuals through a variety of emergency food assistance agencies, such as soup kitchens, youth or senior centers, shelters and pantries. Most food banks tend to collect less perishable foods such as canned goods because they can be stored for a longer time.

Food rescue programs take excess perishable and prepared food and distribute it to agencies and charities that serve hungry people such as soup kitchens, youth or senior centers, shelters and pantries. Many of these agencies visit the food bank each week to select fresh produce and packaged products for their meal programs or food pantries. Many also take direct donations from stores, restaurants, cafeterias, and individuals with surplus food to share.

Many resources exist to help you find a local food bank or food rescue program in your area.

Am I Liable For Food That I Donate?

The Good Samaritan Act was created to prevent to prevent good food from going to waste and to protect companies from liability surrounding their donations.

Highlights of the Good Samaritan Act (PDF) (2 pp, 206.63 K) about PDF)

Disclaimer of Endorsement: Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government, and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.

Food banks also protect their donors by offering a variety of liability protections, including strict standards of warehouse operation, proper storage and handling procedures, complete product tracking and recall capabilities, and accurate and timely receipting.

Information on food safety Exit EPA can also be found on Food Donation Connection's website.

What Tax Benefits Do I Get From Donating Food?

Food donations can add up to big savings for the donors. Not only will you reduce your waste disposal costs, but donations can also generate significant tax benefits for businesses. Some organizations help you track how much food you are donating so you can more easily claim tax benefits.

For more information on claiming tax benefits from food donations, please go to Feeding America Exit EPA

Food Donation Success Stories


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