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Food Donation - Businesses and Institutions

Clark County's 'Stock the Banks' Program

Can you guess how many calories are in 31,370 tons of food? That's how much food and how much life-sustaining energy the residents and businesses of Clark County throw away in a year.

At the same time, Washington ranks second worst in the nation (after Oregon) for hunger.

The households in Clark County without enough to eat get by with help from a network of food banks, shelters, and meal sites around the county. These hunger relief agencies are excellent, hardworking, and committed, but the need is bigger than the pantry.

Donating edible food rather than throwing it away provides a powerful community service by helping feed the hungry. It also saves garbage costs and landfill space.

If your business or institution throws away food that someone could eat, please consider contacting a food bank. Food bank staff will be happy to arrange a way to collect your foodstuffs for distribution to the hungry. Charitable donation receipts can be provided for your records.

YOU ARE PROTECTED from liability!

Federal and state "Good Samaritan" laws were specifically designed to protect donors against liability arising from donated food. These laws are intended to promote donation.

Briefly, the laws say that if you make a food donation in the belief that the food is safe and edible, then you cannot be held liable for any harm the food might do. Link to


STEP 1: Identify the types of food suitable for donation

Many items can be donated, including:

• Menu, buffet, or catered entrees prepared but not served
• Fresh and frozen produce
• Canned and packaged goods
• Frozen meats or refrigerated processed meats
• Dairy products and eggs
• Baked goods

Donation of shellfish and potato, chicken, egg, or seafood salads is not advised. Also, homemade and home-canned goods cannot be accepted.

Both large and small servings are welcome.

STEP 2: Contact hunger relief agency to arrange donation

Contact a food bank and arrange for a donation! Phone numbers and addresses for many food banks are included in the insert that came with this brochure.

Food donations can be picked up on an on-call basis or a pre-arranged schedule. You also can drop food off at the food bank during its office hours.

Some food banks will provide donors with containers for food pick-up and will replace the containers with new, clean containers after each use.

STEP 3: Handle perishable and prepared foods safely

Time and temperature are the most important factors when handling perishable and prepared food items.

• Keep hot foods at 140°F or above until they are transferred to refrigerated conditions.
• Cold foods should be kept at 40°F or below.
• Divide hot foods into shallow containers for rapid cooling. Put food directly into refrigerator or freezer.
• Food should not be held out of temperature (between 40°F and 140°F) for more than two hours. Keep in mind as well the time needed to transport the food back to the recipient agency.
• For prepared foods, label the container with the food type, date, and time of preparation.

For their part, food banks and hunger relief agencies hold to well-defined protocols to ensure the safe collection and distribution of donated food.

STEP4: Examine the food you want to donate

Inspect items carefully when preparing them for donation:

• Food should be safe if it has passed the "best by" or "sell by" date, so long as it has not passed the "use by" or true expiration date.
• Has the food been packaged and handled properly to ensure that it is safe and wholesome?
• Does frozen food look as if it has been thawed and refrozen?
• Has anything leaked onto the food from another container?


Clark County Environmental Services
(360) 397-2121 ext. 4352

Clark County Health Department
(360) 397-8428

For information and agencies elsewhere.

Northwest Harvest
(800) 722-6924

Washington Department of Health
(360) 236-3330


Oregon Food Bank
(503) 282-0555

Metro Regional Services
(503) 234-3000

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Clark County Environmental Services - Recycling and Solid Waste
Peter DuBois, Division Manager

Street Address: 1300 Franklin Street, 1st Floor, Vancouver, WA 98660
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 9810, Vancouver, WA 98666-9810
Main phone: (360) 397-2121 | Fax: (360) 397-2062
Relay 711 or (800) 833-6384

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