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Food Insecurity and Food Donations

In 2016, 41 million people struggled with hunger in the United States, including 13 million children. In 2015, 5.4 million seniors struggled to afford enough to eat. A household that is "food insecure" lacks access to affordable and nutritious food to support a healthy life.

Approximately 1 out of every 6 people in Contra Costa and in California are food insecure, meaning these individuals or families struggle to find their next meal. Many restaurants and markets discard food that was not sold into their garbage can, which eventually ends up in the landfills. Some of this food is still wholesome for consumption.

We want to encourage people to start donating their unwanted or minimally expired food goods to designated food donation centers to help the hungry here in our county.

Donate Food
Get Food
General Public
Food Facility Operators

  • Where to Donate Food

    Please contact agencies directly before donating to find out what donations are accepted.

  • Laws Around Donating Food

    The Good Samaritan Act added on a section in regards to food donations that allows people and businesses to donate food without fearing any repercussions.

    Food Donations

  • Where to Get Food

    For an up-to-date list of places to get free food contact 2-1-1 or search 211 data base.

  • Information for General Public

  • Information for Food Facility Operators

  • FAQs

    Where can I donate food?

    There are many sites you can drop off donations, places like Monument Crisis Center, Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County and Loaves and Fishes are always open to donations. Some places may pick-up donations. Please call ahead to find out what items they're accepting and if you have questions about pick-up.

    Can I donate food past its expiration date?

    Yes you can as long as the food still looks good enough to eat, it will be accepted.

    What is Gleaning?

    Gleaning is when a person or group picks or harvests excess fruits and vegetables from local gardens and farms, and donates it to help those in need.

    I am a restaurant owner and I want to donate left-overs that are still good, but I am afraid I will be sued.

    The Good Samaritan Food Donation Act protects potential food donners from being prosecuted or sued for potentially hazardous food donations. As long as there was no gross negligence or intentional misconduct the donner is not liable for any damages.

    I have fruits/vegetables that I am not harvesting. Who can I ask to come and take the excess food?

    To have someone come and glean your excess fruits and vegetables, you can go to the Urban Farmers website and register your tree.

    Why is it better to compost? Won’t the food still produce methane gas?

    No, food that is properly composted goes through aerobic decomposition, meaning that the fruit and vegetables are getting oxygen during decomposition. This produces Carbon Dioxide gas which is 72% less harmful than Methane gas. Food that is in a landfill gets buried and cannot get oxygen which forces it to go through anaerobic decomposition which produces Methane gas.

    What food can be composted?

    Foods like fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggs and eggshell, baked goods such as cake, bread, cookies etc., are all compostable. It is not recommended to compost meat, fish or cooked foods as they might attract unwanted pests.

    What are the differences between a food bank, food pantry, and soup kitchen?

    A food bank solicits, stores, and distributes large donations of food, donations that a single food pantry could not accept because of a lack of storage capacity at their facility. Food banks feed the needs of hungry people by distributing the donations they receive to a large number of member agencies, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, meal programs, drug treatment centers, and senior care centers.

    A food pantry provides three-day food packages to families that have a place to live, but not enough food. These packages are designed to provide nutritionally balanced meals.

    Soup kitchens serve individuals in need of a hot meal, the only meal of the day for many of them. Most soup kitchens serve a full, balanced meal, and some prepare and deliver meals to the homebound, as well.