1. What is food rescue?
Food rescue is the practice of collecting edible food that would have otherwise gone to waste from restaurants, grocers and other food establishments and distributing it to local hunger relief agencies. Food rescue is extremely effective because it simultaneously gets food to those who need it, reduces food waste, and minimizes the amount of toxic emissions from food waste in landfills.
2. Is it safe to donate, transport, and/or receive rescued food?
Yes. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act passed into law by Congress in 1997 states that donors are protected from both civil and criminal liability when donating food in good faith to a non-profit organization even if the donated food later causes harm to a recipient. This law was created to encourage the donation of food and grocery products. Click here to read the full Act.
3. What type of food does Food Rescue US rescue?
Food Rescue US focuses on the rescue of fresh, healthy food that is either excess inventory or is not marketable at retail due to nearing expiration dates or slight defects such as bruising or misshaping. Because we are uniquely able to deliver the food directly from the Food Donor to the Receiving Agency, we are able to provide access to fresh foods not typically accessible to food insecure families due to high cost and inconsistent availability.
4. Who does Food Rescue US rescue food from?
Food Rescue US rescues excess fresh food from restaurants, grocers, bakers, caterers, farmer’s markets, company cafeterias and other local food establishments.
5. Who does Food Rescue US deliver the rescued food to?
Food Rescue US delivers food to local “Receiving Agencies” that serve food insecure families. These include community soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and other hunger relief organizations.
6. How does the Food Rescue US app work?
Food Rescue US is driven by technology. Our new app is a unique, proprietary tool that allows collaboration on an unlimited scale. Its built-in algorithm matches excess food from Food Donors with Receiving Agencies that need it, and volunteer Food Rescuers who transport it. The app provides all details for every food rescue – how much food there will be, where to pick up and deliver, who to contact, etc. The app makes rescuing food simple and efficient.
7. What is unique about Food Rescue US?
There are three distinctive elements of the innovative Food Rescue US model.
Direct Delivery – since our volunteers drive the rescued food directly from the Food Donor to the local Receiving Agency, we are able to deliver fresh, healthy foods to food insecure families that don’t typically have access to it due to high cost and inconsistent availability. This healthier diet has huge impact on the prevention of illnesses such as diabetes, and the ability of children to focus in school. Direct delivery by our volunteers also means we have no expensive warehousing and transport costs.
Technology – our award-winning app is the centerpiece of how we run our food rescue operation. All food rescue opportunities are listed on a daily, weekly and monthly schedule. Volunteers simply log on to the app and sign up for a rescue. The app provides all details of every rescue – how much food there will be, where to pick up and deliver, who to contact, etc. Our technology makes rescuing food simple and efficient.
Volunteer Driven – local community-minded volunteers use their own cars to transport all of the donated food. Because of our app, volunteers can always see what rescues are available and sign up as it’s convenient for them. Our volunteers repeatedly tell us how easy it is to rescue food thanks to the app, and how rewarding it is because the experience is so hands-on.
8. How many times a week does Food Rescue US rescue food?
Food Rescue US rescues food seven days a week.
9. How long does it usually take to do a food rescue?
A typical food rescue takes about 30 minutes. Our food rescues are designed to be quick so that the food spends minimal time in transport.
10. As a volunteer, what is my commitment timewise?
The beauty of volunteering with us is that you design our own time commitment. Some of our volunteers rescue food several times each week while others rescue food sporadically during the year as it fits into their schedule.
11. How do I sign up for a rescue?
After you’ve registered on the app as a volunteer Food Rescuer, you simply choose a rescue that works for you, and sign up! It’s super easy.
12. Do I need to be “tech-savvy” to use your app?
No. The app is designed to be very user friendly and has a comprehensive tutorial to answer any questions.
14. Do I need a big car to transport the rescued food?
No. Our food rescues vary in size so you can choose the ones that work best for you. The scheduling information on the app gives you all the details about the anticipated amount of food you’ll be rescuing.
15. Does Food Rescue US provide details on exactly where to go and what to do for every food rescue?
Absolutely. Every food rescue on the schedule lists complete details with the address of the Food Donor and the Receiving Agency you will be delivering to, the amount of food you will be rescuing, and any particulars about the rescue that are helpful for you to know.
16. Will I be able to park near the food pick-up and drop-off locations?
Yes. Food Rescue US works with Food Donors and Receiving Agencies to be sure there is ample parking for the volunteer Food Rescuer.
17. Will I get help loading and unloading my car?
Sometimes. One of our goals is to make the rescue and delivery of food as seamless as possible for the Food Donors and Receiving Agencies. We understand that their priority must be to run their businesses and organizations without distraction, so we try to make the amount of food reasonable for volunteers to manage themselves.
18. How will the food be packaged?
Food will typically be packaged in either cardboard cartons or aluminum trays, depending on the type of food being donated.
19. What if there’s too much food for me to transport?
If there’s too much food, take what you can. If you have time to do two trips, that’s fantastic but if not, simply contact your Site Director and let them know.
20. Can I bring my kids on a food rescue?
Yes, many volunteers do food rescues as a family. But we ask that you please keep safety top of mind as we are rescuing and delivering food during regular business hours and want to be the least disruptive as possible.
21. What if I have questions during my food rescue?
Each of our geographic locations has a Site Director who can help you at any time with questions. Their names and phone numbers are listed by location on our website foodrescue.us/sites. In addition, our national office is available at 800-280-3298.
22. What if I have to cancel a rescue?
We understand that things come up and have made it easy to cancel a rescue right on our app. We ask that you please give as much notice as possible so someone else can do that food rescue.
23. Can I adopt a weekly or monthly rescue so it’s always on my schedule?
Yes! We encourage volunteers to adopt a weekly rescue so it becomes part of their schedule. And there’s always someone to cover for you if you’re periodically not available.
24. As a Food Donor, how do I get the process started? Do I get a report for my tax write-off? Are there promotional benefits to being a Food Donor?
To register as a Food Donor, simply go to foodrescue.us/getinvolved and either download the iOS app or register via the web. The matching process of finding a local Receiving Agency who can use your food, and a volunteer Food Rescuer to transport it starts happening immediately. Food donations are tax-deductible and tracking is done by each Food Donor themselves. Food Rescue US has a robust publicity and social media program through which we happily promote our Food Donors.
25. How do I give my feedback to Food Rescue US?
After each food rescue you do, we ask for your feedback through a feature on the app called “Close Your Run.” You are the “feet on the ground” for our food rescue program and therefore we rely on your valuable input. Additionally, you can always contact your local Site Director or our national office at 800-280-3298 with any questions, comments or concerns.
26. Are there opportunities to get involved with Food Rescue US other than doing food rescues?
Always! Both our national office and our individual Site Directors have a variety of volunteer needs ranging from deskwork to marketing and promotion. Contact us at 800-280-3298 and let us know if you have a particular area of interest.