Q: What is Community Food Rescue? Community Food Rescue (CFR) is the coordinated food recovery system of Montgomery County, Maryland. This system enhances the good work that businesses, individuals, and organizations are already doing to recover and redistribute perfectly good food to people experiencing hunger.

Q: What’s the status of food waste and hunger in Montgomery County? In Montgomery County, 149,000 tons (23%) of all solid waste is food waste, and 70,000 (8%) of residents do not know where their next meal will come from. Your participation in CFR will help achieve the county’s goal of recycling 70% of solid waste by 2020.

Q: Who can participate in Community Food Rescue?

    • Montgomery County-licensed food businesses (such as restaurants, caterers, grocers, farmers, farmers’ markets, institutions, etc.)
    • Hunger relief/social service organizations that provide food (including shelf stable, fresh, frozen, or prepared) to people in need of supplemental food in Montgomery County.
    • People with vehicles, good driving records, and auto insurance who can join our volunteer food runners corps and transport donated food from food businesses to recipient hunger relief agencies. This is a great opportunity for families and for civic and faith-based groups.

Q: Can I as an individual donate food? Currently, only licensed food businesses can participate in CFR. Individuals can contact a food recipient organization directly. For a list of agencies, visit CFR’s Resources page. If you hire a licensed caterer for your event and have surplus food that has not been served and has been kept at proper temperature, the caterer can participate in Community Food Rescue.

Q: Can businesses located outside of Montgomery County participate? We encourage those outside of Montgomery County wishing to make donations to use existing resources in their communities. Contact the Capital Area Food Bank (202-644-9800) for local referrals.

Q: Are participants protected from liability if someone gets sick from eating donated food? Yes! The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act (PUBLIC LAW 104–210—OCT. 1, 1996 110 STAT. 3011) established in 1996, protects businesses that donate food in good faith from being held liable should someone become sick from the food. The only exception to the law is in the case of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Additionally, Maryland Health-General Code Ann §21-322, states, “A person [nonprofit corporation, organization, or association], shall have the immunity from liability for any act or omission that affects the nature, age, condition, or packaging of the donated food.”

Q: Can businesses take a tax deduction when they donate food? In 1976, Congress enacted Internal Revenue Code, Section 170e3, as an incentive so that qualified businesses, can take an enhanced tax deduction for fit and wholesome food inventory donated to qualified 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations that serve people experiencing poverty and hunger. Learn more on CFR’s Incentives page.

Q: How can a business that donates food get public recognition? CFR will recognize all participating licensed food businesses on our website and social media. Donors will also receive a printer-friendly template that they can use to recognize the organizations that receive their donated food. They can print an 8-1/2 x 11 certificate to frame and post in their establishment. In addition, all participating businesses are encouraged to become certified food donors through Food Recovery Certified. The first 15 businesses to participate in CFR will receive a free one year certification! This is a $100 value!

To apply for donor certification, sign up on the Food Recovery Certified website. On the application, under “Part 6: Payment,” enter coupon code “CFR” to waive the initial $100 fee. Certified businesses will receive a window sticker and jpeg artwork to display on their websites, menus etc.

Q: How does the Community Food Rescue matching software work? The software is an automated, online matching system with pre-programmed algorithms. The matches are based on the participants’ profiles as donors, recipients, or food runners. The matching criteria includes: types of food, quantity, proximity, timing availability, and transportation capacity. The software will also aggregate metrics about food totals and food recovery activity. See CFR’s Matching Web Application FAQs about the Web application for more details.

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