Food Donor FAQs

These are frequently asked questions about using CFR’s Web application for food donation and how the CFR food run process works.

Q: What happens after I complete my online profile?

If you are a currently licensed Montgomery County food business, your account will be activated immediately  and you can begin posting food donations. If you are not, then your profile will be reviewed and you may be contacted to provide additional information about your business. Once your registration is activated, usually within 48 hours, you will be notified and will be able to post one-time food donations and regular, weekly donations. You only have to list your regular food runs once and each run will record the amount of food donated. Update your profile only if the food types or food quantity changes.

Q: How do I know what kinds of food I can donate? How should food be packaged? How do I know that the food I donate will be handled safely?

Please refer to CFR’s Food Safety Guidelines and short video about foods that can and cannot be donated, safe food packaging, labeling, and storage requirements. CFR works closely with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). We also train CFR volunteers and food recipient organizations in safe food handling practices and use a tracking form so that food safety is tracked throughout the donation process. Donors and recipients sign an Electronic signature after each food run to verify that food was handling according to CFR Food Safety Guidelines.

Q: I already donate food to one or more hunger relief organizations. Why should I use the CFR Web app.?

CFR honors your existing relationships with food recipient organizations and you will continue to donate as before. But  the advantage of joining CFR is that all food donations will be recorded, information aggregated, and you can request customized reports for promotion and tax reporting. Your donation information will also be aggregated with all the other food donations to show the collective impact that Montgomery County is making toward feeding more and wasting less.

Q: Is there a minimum donation?

Yes, it is 10 meals or 12 lbs. We encourage donors to aggregate and freeze amounts less than that and schedule a donation when they reach this minimum.

Q: Can individuals donate food? Can individuals receive food?

Currently, only licensed food businesses and farmers doing business in Montgomery County can participate in CFR. If you are a licensed caterer and have surplus food that has not been served and has been kept at proper temperature, you can participate in Community Food Rescue. Individuals with food to donate can contact a food recipient organization directly from the CFR Website.

Food donated through CFR only goes to hunger relief recipient organizations, not directly to individuals. The recipient organizations then distribute donated food to their clients.

Q: What’s the sequence of match making and scheduling a food run?

When a donor schedules a food run, the Web app. automatically matches the donation with a recipient organization based on both profiles. The donor will receive the first of two emails confirming this match. Next an email will go out to all volunteer food runners whose profiles match the vicinity of the donor. The first volunteer to claim the run, will get it.  Once a volunteer accepts the food run, the donor will receive the second of two emails with details. Confirmation emails will also go to the recipient and volunteer so that you each have one another’s contact information.

Q: What happens if a donation is not picked up? What happens if a donation is offered late at night, and no one responds?

If a match is not made, donors are advised to chill or freeze and store the donation until the next day, and post it again as a new donation. The donor can also choose to take it to the recipient themselves. Contact the CFR administrator,  to let her know that you will deliver.

Q: How is the amount of food I donate recorded?

Food donations are entered by food donors when they schedule a food run. For regular, repeated runs with similar quantities and types of foods, donation information is entered one time and this information is automatically captured after each run. If food is donated as a one-time run, food donors enter the types and quantities of food. if the actual amount of food is different than was posted, the donor or recipient can update their food run in donor>my food runs> past food runs. It is essential that all food donors enter this information in the Web app. so that the data can be captured and aggregated accurately. The CFR administrator can run customized reports on the aggregated information upon request.

Q: How can I provide feedback about my CFR experience?

CFR wants each food run experience to be a good one, so we ask each participant—donors, recipients, and volunteer food runners to rate your experience, similar to a Yelp-type rating. Each participant will use their online account to rate their satisfaction and can also offer suggestions for improvement. This feedback will benefit all participants and CFR as a system.

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.” Food donors must still follow safe food handling practices as described in the CFR Food Safety Guidelines.

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. These businesses can deduct the production costs of the donated food and as, an enhancement, half the difference between the cost and the full fair market value of food donated. The America Gives More Act 2015 includes permanent tax deductions for all food donor businesses.

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 certificate that recognizes the organizations that receive their donated food. They can print an 8-1/2 x11certificate to frame and post in their establishment.

In addition, all participating businesses are encouraged to become nationally 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.

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