500,000 people in Eastern Massachusetts struggle with food insecurity. That’s 1 in 9 members of our community. And yet every day, businesses in Massachusetts throw away thousands of pounds of healthy, edible food. By donating your excess food, you are not only helping the environment, but you are ensuring that many of these people are afforded the same opportunity as you or I – the ability to access healthy food. Additionally, donating your excess food rather than sending it to compost or landfill can save you waste-hauling costs and you may be eligible for tax incentives.
How do I donate?
We make food donation easy. Our Operations Director will work with you to establish a convenient schedule for pick-up of your excess food based on the amounts available, your storage capacity, and our vehicle availability. Excess food should be stored in a safe manner. When our drivers arrive, they will place that food in boxes provided by Food For Free and transport them in refrigerated trucks to our own cooler and freezer storage or directly to one of our recipient agencies. We are happy to provide you with regular updates regarding the amount of food donated by weight.
What can I donate?
We accept any non-plated food that has been handled in accordance with standard food-safety regulations – this can include grocery items, produce, wrapped sandwiches, salads, or prepared food that has been safely brought down to temperature (40 degrees or below). A simple way to determine if the food is acceptable for donation is, ask yourself “Is it safe and would I want to eat it?”
Who can donate?
Due to food safety concerns, Food For Free will only accept food donations from catering companies and food service professionals. We do not accept individual donations. Volume, location, and scheduling are all factors in whether or not we can accommodate your food donation request. Our trucks regularly visit the following cities: Arlington, Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Somerville, and Watertown. We may be able to support pick-ups in other cities, particularly for larger volumes (250 pound or more).
Do you accept prepared food?
Yes. We accept both frozen prepared food as well as fresh.
1. Fresh food (i.e. sandwiches, salads, etc.) must be donated within 7 days of preparation. Food must be labeled with either preparation date or expiration/use by date
2. Previously prepared foods may be frozen for preservation. Freezing process must adhere to ServSafe® guidelines. Information pertaining to these guidelines can be found at www.servsafe.com
3. Prepared food donations may be packaged in a variety of containers and should be made of food grade/food safe materials. Please use recyclable consumables where possible.
4. All prepared food donations must be labeled with the following information:
- Date prepared
- Contents (i.e. product or recipe name)
- Ingredients and/or potential allergens