Safely rescuing quality food to feed Spokane’s hungry by nurturing sustainable community networks and charitable partnerships while eliminating food waste.
What We Do
Restaurants, caterers, hotels, grocers, wholesalers, farmers and event centers donate leftover food that would otherwise be discarded to Feed Spokane. The food comes to Feed Spokane in disposable pans and ziplock bags provided by supplier donors to the cause. Volunteers and coalition agencies then distribute the food to any of 55 charitable meal sites in our community who serve free meals to the food insecure in Spokane.
In 2005 Feed Spokane started as a conversation between meal site directors, SNAP, and concerned citizens with a purpose of figuring out how to increase the quality and quantity of food for service to the homeless and food insecure in the Spokane area. Inspired by Portland OR, Fork it Over operation, willing test participant restaurants, including Arby’s, and Old Spaghetti Factory began the effort to rescue excess prepared food from local restaurants and safely distribute it to area free meal sites. In 2007 a board was formed and Feed Spokane became an official Non-Profit 501c3, thanks to a generous cash donation from the WRA to pay for filing fees.
Communication and collaboration are at the heart of Feed Spokane. Monthly meetings are held at various meal sites for representative of these vital operations to share their mission, their challenges, their successes and their lessons learned. Increasing the food safety awareness and processes is a huge component of what we do. Promoting awareness to the Spokane community of the issue of hunger and its effects on our community has enabled many sites to survive through the economic challenges of the past few years. It has also made many restaurant operators aware of the cost of waste in their kitchens and enabled them to implement better business practices.
How It Works
Commercial Kitchen packages excess food in provided containers rather than disposing of it.
Feed Spokane rescues frozen food from commercial kitchens or warehouses regularly, or as needed.
Extra Food is distributed to coalition member meal sites.
Rescued food is SAFELY SERVED to those who need it in our area.
Donors are eligible for a tax write off, and saves on disposal costs.
Non-profit Coalition Meal Site saves on food costs.
Environmental impact is positive.
1. Is this safe?
Yes! The Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) has supported this program from its inception. Spokane County’s chief health officer, Dr. Kim Marie Thorburn, is quoted on our literature as saying, “We are an enthusiastic partner in this important program that is creating a healthier community by reducing hunger and waste. We are committed to assuring that donated food is safe and practical for everyone.” Ray Byrne, SRHD’s Food Program Technical Advisor, attends every planning meeting for the program.
Our goal is to not only feed the hungry, but to feed them good, nutritious and safe food. For more information, contact the SRHD at (509) 324-1560, ext. 2.
2. Aren’t I opening myself up to a lawsuit?
No. The federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act protects states that donors “shall not be subject to civil or criminal liability arising from the nature, age, packaging, or condition of apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product that the person or gleaner donates in good faith to a nonprofit organization for ultimate distribution to needy individuals.” This bi-partison legislation:
- Protects donors from liability when donating to a non-profit organization;
- Protects donors from civil and criminal liability should the product donated in good faith later cause harm to the needy recipient;
- Standardizes donor liability exposure. Donors and their legal counsel no longer have to investigate liability laws in 50 states;
- Sets a liability floor of “gross negligence” or intentional misconduct for persons who donate grocery products;
- Congress recognized that the provision of food close to recommended date of sale is, in and of itself, not grounds for finding gross negligence. For example, cereal can be donated if it is marked close to code date for retail sale.
For more information, contact the SRHD at (509) 324-1560, ext. 2.
3. My kitchen staff is already overworked. Isn’t this going to mean even more work for them?
No. Instead of throwing edible food in the garbage, your kitchen staff simply puts it in corner of your cooler, in equipment that we provide. Then our driver comes and picks up the food at your convenience. You can schedule a regular pick-up or simply call when you have something to donate. You only deal with one person; your food is then distributed to every free meal site in Spokane. Your kitchen staff already knows how to properly handle foods, so there is no extra training. We have also found that donating good food to the hungry improves staff morale and makes them proud of their job at your company.
4. I already give food to a non-profit organization. Why should I give to you?
You shouldn’t. If you are already giving away all your edible food to the hungry, don’t change. Our goal is to work with all the food organizations in town to increase the overall amount of food available to the hungry in our community.
5. Are other restaurants and caterers doing this? What do they say?
Send us your preferred contact information, and we’ll have them call you and tell you how easy it is! The Washington Restaurant Association – Spokane Chapter is our biggest partner. Adrian Carcas, President of the WRA – Spokane Chapter, and General Manager of The Old Spaghetti Factory, was our first donor!
For more information, contact Gregory Edwards at 570-3951 or firstname.lastname@example.org