Frequently Asked Questions
We accept almost all forms of quality excess food: fresh, frozen, prepared, raw, dry, etc. Prepared foods must have been catered or prepared in a certified kitchen. We also accept fresh produce, including homegrown fruits and vegetables, and will send volunteers out to gather the produce via our new Community Harvest program. See the full Donate Excess Food page for more info.
Per the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, it is not a violation of DOH rules if food establishments donate or distribute wholesome food products beyond the expiration date.
Many commercial food products are labeled with dates preceded by terms like “best if used by,” “sell by,” “use by,” “expires by,” etc.
These terms are not standardized and are almost entirely unregulated at the federal level. Confusion over the meaning of these dates results in about 20% of food waste at the consumer level in the U.S.
ReFED found that standardizing date labels nationally would be the most cost-effective solution to this country’s food waste problem. The fairly simple solution has the potential to divert 398,000 tons of food waste per year and provide $1.8 billion in annual economic value. Read more here.
Examples of commonly used labels:
• “Best if Used By/Before” – indicates when a product will be of best flavor and quality. This is not a purchase or safety date.
• “Sell By” – tells the store how long to display the product for sale for inventory management. This is not a safety date.
• “Use By” – indicates the last date recommended for the use of the product while at peak quality. This is not a safety date except when used on infant formula.
If a food product has been handled properly, it should still be safe and wholesome after its product date label has passed, unless spoilage characteristics are evident. These characteristics include off odor, off flavor, or off texture. Food with these characteristics should be discarded.
Hurrah! There are several ways you can get started:
• Learn more and fill out a short online form to request a food pickup on our Donate Excess Food page.
• Call our office, which is open Monday-Friday between 8am-5pm: (808) 537-6945
• Email [email protected]
You will receive a tax-deductible receipt for your donation.
There is no cost to the food donor or the agency receiving the food. We’re able to provide free service to the community thanks to our generous funders and financial supporters.
Based on our 2020 operations and budget, for every $1 donated, we’re able to rescue & redistribute 1.7 lbs of food. Click here if you’d like to make a contribution.
We do not have a warehouse and do not store any foods long-term. However, we can occasionally accept small, non-perishable food donations at the office, which our trucks will deliver to our recipient agencies the next day.
Our address is 3599 Waiʻalae Avenue, Suite 23, Honolulu. Regular office hours are Monday through Friday, 8am-5pm. Please contact us in advance by calling 808-537-6945 or emailing [email protected]
In 2020, we delivered rescued food to 276 recipient agencies, including homeless shelters, social services, food pantries, and veterans services.
We are currently (2021) working on a public, regularly updated list of partners to share. You can learn about our top (by poundage) recipient agencies and food donors by browsing the Reports page.
Donors and recipient agencies are protected under the federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996, and the Hawaiʻi Good Samaritan Donation of Food Act. See more on the Donate Excess Food page.