When food is leftover after an event, donating it is the responsible thing to do. But in the past there were often too many hurdles for that to happen.
But earlier this year, Congress passed the Food Donation Improvement Act (FDIA) and it was signed into law. This builds on the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act from 1996, which provided limited liability protection for organizations who donate food to serve the hungry or food-insecure. The new legislation helps to clarify what foods can be safely donated and offers extended protection for donors.
One local convention center here in Kansas City has taken the next step in food donation. The Overland Park Convention Center formed a partnership with Pete’s Garden, a food rescue organization that repackages the food into take-home meals for needy families in the Kansas City area. In 2022, Pete’s Garden donated about 75,000 healthy meals, and this year they expect to exceed 100,000 meals.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 34 million Americans were food insecure and 53 million turned to food banks or food pantries for assistance in 2021. At the same time, nearly 40 percent of food in America is wasted, with commercial food waste comprising the majority of that.
To learn more about the new legislation, or find out more about donating food, here are a few resources:
- Food Donation Snapshot: Food Donation Improvement Act (lots of great links inside this article)
- Food Donation After an Event is Now Easier Than Ever
- Find Your Local Food Bank (search tool on Feeding America.org)