Help your community and environment
Donating surplus prepared food helps local hunger-relief agencies serve those in need, including many children and seniors.
Donating food also helps the environment by preventing waste. When food is wasted, the water, energy, fertilizer and cropland that went into producing the food is wasted, too.
You are protected from liability
Food donors are protected by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Act, which was passed into federal law in 1996. Organizations that donate food in good faith to a nonprofit for distribution to needy individuals are not subject to civil or criminal liability that arises from the condition of the food.
Save money on your taxes
The federal tax code allows a deduction for donated food. Eligible businesses can deduct the lesser of either (a) twice the cost of acquiring the donated food or (b) the cost of acquiring the donated food, plus one-half of the food’s expected profit margin, if it were sold at its fair market value. Contact your tax professional to determine its application to your business.
How to get started
1. Identify foods you can donate
Licensed food establishments can donate food that has not been served (e.g., leftover food from a buffet may not be donated). Hunger-relief organizations are most in need of entrees, soups, sandwiches, yogurt parfaits and other healthy, prepared foods. Review these food donation guidelines (PDF) to understand how to keep the food safe. Use a log sheet (DOCX) to track how donated food is handled.
2. Find an organization that will take your food
Call a hunger-relief organization and let them know what you have and the quantity. The recipient organization must have a food license. The following organizations are a good place to start:
- Sharing and Caring Hands, 525 N 7th St, Minneapolis, 612-338-4640
- Peace House Community, 1816 Portland Ave S, Minneapolis, 612-870-7263
- Catholic Charities Opportunity Center, 740 17th St E., Minneapolis, 612-204-8300
- Community Bridge, 2400 Park Ave S, Minneapolis, 612-746-4108
3. Arrange for delivery of the food
Talk to your staff about donating food. Some of the food establishments that donate food have found an employee who champions the effort and will volunteer to deliver the food.
Hennepin County has trained volunteers who will come to your location and transport your food to a hunger-relief agency. To learn more, contact Nancy Lo at 612-348-9195.
4. Get recognized for your efforts
Join industry leaders such as Eastside Food Co-op, Lunds & Byerlys and Gastrotruck to be recognized as a Hennepin County Environmental Partner. Partners that donate edible food receive a window decal, a listing in the directory and resources to help you communicate to your customers that you care about the community.