Charitable Food Donation
As communities work to address issues of homelessness, many individuals or groups seek to help out on a personal level. Some wish to offer food to those experiencing homelessness, prompting questions of safety and food service permitting. Clark County Public Health (CCPH) is charged with protecting the health of all residents of and visitors to Clark County. Use the information below as guidance for groups or individuals who wish to provide food to people experiencing homelessness.
Public health considerations
- Homelessness is a public health issue needing comprehensive and compassionate solutions;
- Public health issues related to homelessness include: food safety, solid waste, proper human waste disposal, proper hazardous material disposal, safe drinking water, adverse childhood experiences, proper nutrition, infectious diseases prevention, and others;
- Individuals experiencing homelessness are entitled to food prepared safely in a sanitary environment;
- Individuals experiencing homelessness often have preexisting medical conditions and/or lack the ability to maintain proper health habits including getting adequate sleep and nutrition, and may be more susceptible to a foodborne illness.
Options for individuals/groups to offer food
- Volunteer with, or donate food to, existing organizations;
- Be a recognized 501c3 organization that serves food in accordance with Donated Food Distribution Organization (DFDO) guidelines;
- Serve only foods that are exempt from permit and submit the required form to CCPH;
- Become permitted as an Annual Itinerant and prepare food in an approved kitchen.
Joe Laxson - Food Safety Program Manager
Clark County Public Health