DONATING surplus edible food from restaurants, markets and schools can be a great way to help those in need. Doing so helps to reduce the number of our neighbors in need and positively impacts their lives.
HUNGER RELIEF: Over 16 million people in California, including individuals, families, and children, struggle with food insecurity. Bakersfield ranks #1 in the Nation with the most people in a metropolitan area who can not afford to buy the food they need, and 1 in 4 children in Kern County go to bed hungry every night. Not all of these families are eligible for federal assistance, or this assistance doesn’t meet their needs- YOU can help fill this gap by donating your surplus wholesome food to Waste Hunger Not Food Kern County.
Click here if you’d like to start donating food to the Waste Hunger Not Food Program
What foods can be donated? Almost anything you prepare or sell can be donated, including meats and dairy even if they are close to their expiration date.
We accept fresh, frozen, perishable and non-perishable, packaged or bulk food products that have been prepared and handled in accordance with state and local food handling guidelines. There are many different wholesome foods you can donate.
There are a few exceptions:
- Baby food or formula that has exceeded its expiration date cannot be donated
- Homemade or restaurant food without a valid health permit cannot be donated
- Food portions which have been previously served to consumers cannot be donated
Is there a Special Public Health Permit for donating or receiving surplus food? No, a Special Public Health Permit for donating or receiving surplus food is not required. However, donating and receiving surplus foods must be done in a way that minimizes food safety risks.
How can we ensure the food is safe for distribution? It is important to maintain the foods that will be donated in the same safe and reasonable manner which you hold other foods intended to be sold. Please reach out to your Environmental Health Inspector with any questions.
How is the food being picked up, transported, and handled safely? Kern County Public Health Services Department will coordinate food pick up and distribution.
Everyone involved in this process has been trained and will be overseen by Kern County Public Health Services Department.
Can I be liable for donating food? You are protected! The Federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act and the California Health and Safety Code provides donors with liability protection provided the food has been handled safely and in accordance with state and local food handling guidelines and is donated free of charge to a nonprofit charitable organization or to direct individuals. The recipients must not pay for the food. There is no protection for intentional misconduct or negligence.
Where does the food go? Kern County Public Health Services Department will match your donation with the most relevant recipient site depending on distance, type of food and availability of storage. A map of food donors and recipients is available here.
There are many benefits to donating excess food from your business, here are a few to consider:
- Potential tax deductions for donating safe surplus food
- Reduce the frequency of trash hauling service- CA State Law AB 1826 requires businesses to reduce their organic waste by 2020
MANDATORY ORGANICS RECYCLING LAW (AB 1826): Beginning January 2016, businesses that generate a certain amount of waste per week must recycle their organic waste (which includes food waste). Donating surplus wholesome food is a strategy to reduce the amount of organic waste that ends up in your waste bin. To learn more about AB 1826, visit: Cal Recycle.