How To Help : Donate Food

Hunger hurts our communities. We can help. Local and national food businesses donate a variety of healthy products to support The Greater Boston Food Bank's mission to end hunger in eastern Massachusetts. We rely on the generosity of more than 605 food donors who play a critical role in providing at least one meal a day to those in need.

The Greater Boston Food Bank couldn't exist without the generous support of the food industry. We receive regular donations from food manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, supermarkets, and growers. These donations range from excess inventory, surplus from test marketing, and short code dated items to philanthropic donations of first-run products as part of Corporate Social Responsibility programs.

Donate Food

Our food acquisition professionals know your industry and will ensure the donation process is smooth and efficient. We're expert at handling general food donations, produce, and perishable or frozen food—from a few boxes to multiple truck loads. We can pick up your donation using one of our refrigerated trucks, or you can deliver directly to our facility, Monday through Friday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

For information on making a food donation, contact:

Devin Ingersoll, Retail Donations Assistant Manager, at 617-427-5200 ext. 5059 or

Colleen Toomey, Retail Donations Assistant Manager, at 617-427-5200 ext. 5027 or

For information on food drives, please visit,
or contact:

Food Drive Coordinator at 617.427.5200 ext. 5049 or

The Greater Boston Food Bank will distribute your donation to our hundreds of member agencies throughout eastern Massachusetts. The result is that your donation becomes part of a comprehensive solution that feeds over 500,000 in our community.

Retail Donation Program

The Greater Boston Food Bank partners with local retailers. The Retail Donation Program began in the fall of 2009 with 12 stores. It has now expanded to 65 stores with 5 local retailers. The current program focuses on meats - beef, pork, veal, poultry and packaged deli meats. All are frozen prior to expiration and picked up either on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

Retail size meat and deli products are some of the more difficult for the food bank to source and are highly desirable to our agencies.

Retailers have seen the advantage to partnering with us at the store level - from the impact on their local communities, to the enthusiasm expressed by their team members as the program continues to grow.

We have strategically added new stores in areas that we have existing or new opportunities for pick ups and deliveries to maximize our transportation to the fullest potential. Two temperature controlled vehicles are on the road daily making stops at retail stores after they deliver to our agencies.

Retail Donations Guidelines

Meat, Poultry, Fish

  • Product should be in original packaging
  • Food grade packaging in direct contact with food
  • Securely closed and separated by food type (e.g. beef, pork, poultry) to avoid cross contamination
  • Labeled and dated as appropriate

Handling and Storage

  • Product should be frozen on or before the expiration date
  • Product should be stored at 0°F or less while awaiting pickup
  • Under no circumstances can the product be stored in excess of 41°F

Non-Acceptable Conditions

  • Food kept in the danger zone more than two hours
  • Non-food grade packaging in direct contact with food
  • Damaged or compromised packaging resulting in discoloration of product
  • Defrosted product or product with severe freezer burn

Tax & Liability Information

It is important to note that we are in the business of warehousing and distributing food to hunger relief agencies, and as such, this should not be construed as tax advice and legal advice. We strongly encourage you to contact your tax or legal professional regarding the new benefits of donating food for hunger relief.

Allowable Deductions for Charitable Donations of Ordinary Income Property: The general rule since 1969 states that a taxpayer who contributes appreciated inventory or certain other ordinary income property is permitted a charitable deduction only for an amount equal to the taxpayer's basis in the contributed property, generally limited to the adjusted basis of the property, not its fair market value.

Under IRC Section 170 (e) (3), a corporation is entitled to a deduction with respect to a contribution to a public charity or to a private operating foundation of appreciated property described in IRC Section 1221 (1) and (2). That is, certain types of ordinary income property in an amount equal to:

  • The sum of one-half of the unrealized appreciation (market value minus cost equals appreciation) plus the taxpayer's cost, but
  • Not in excess of twice the cost of the contributed property as described in IRC Section 170 (e) (B).

Example: Selling Price $4.00 Cost $1.00 Gross Profit $3.00 One-half of $3.00 equals $1.50. The maximum deduction can never exceed two times cost ($2.00). Therefore, gross profit is limited to $1.00. Total charitable deduction: $2.00

* A common example of ordinary income property is property held primarily by the donor for sale to customers in the ordinary course of business.

Liability issues: On October 1, 1996, President Clinton signed the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act to encourage the donation of food and grocery products to non-profit organizations for distribution to needy individuals. This new law makes it easier to donate. Click here to download a copy of the act.

2016 Update: The Path Act includes several improvements to the tax incentives allowable for food donation.

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