Food Donation Programs in the United States

16 Jun 2023


Why Food Donation Programs are Important

In 2015, 42.2 million individuals, including 13.1 million children, were food insecure in the United States. Food insecure individuals are defined as those who lack access to a sufficient amount of food to lead a healthy lifestyle.


Additionally, about 40% of food in the U.S. is wasted. Diverting edible food that would otherwise be wasted by households and businesses to food-insecure individuals via food donation programs contributes to hunger relief efforts and reduces food waste.


The UN has called on all of us to halve global food loss and waste by 2030. Further, reducing food waste is one of the major sustainability goals laid out by the UN in Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.


Find a Program Near You

There are many ways to contribute to food donation programs in the U.S. One may choose to volunteer their time, donate food, or gift money. Donating excess food to local programs is a great way to reduce food waste.


We created this map of food donation programs, including statewide food bank associations and some local food banks and pantries, to help find one near you.


Map of Food Donation Programs in the U.S.

Follow these hyperlinks to find resources in Alaska and Hawaii.


Please note that markers on this map may indicate food bank networks or a statewide resource, so markers surrounding your area may be applicable to you.



What Happens if Food I Donate Makes Someone Sick?

Many food industry business owners do not donate excess food for fear of legal liability. To combat these concerns, the U.S. Congress passed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996 and the Food Donation Act of 2017. These acts were designed to protect companies upon making food donations to non-profit organizations, even if those donations cause harm to any recipients.


To learn more about both of these acts protecting those who donate food, read our post on legal protections for those donating food.


Additional Resources

To find local food banks, pantries, and donation centers check out these resources:


OneThird is a member of Friends of Champions 12.3. We are helping to halve global food loss and waste by 50% by 2030. We work with growers, shippers, distributors, and retailers to reduce food waste by measuring shelf life. If you are interested, you can contact us via our form or email us directly at


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