DonateNYC matches businesses with extra food to groups that feed hungry New Yorkers

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The New York City Department of Sanitation has announced the launch of the food donation section of the donateNYC website, which matches businesses with extra food to groups that feed hungry New Yorkers with an eye towards hyper-local donations.

The new tool is designed to help reduce the large amounts of edible food sent to landfills every year, redirect excess edible food to New Yorkers in need, and help fill the meal gap not yet met by existing food donations.

The site also supports recurring hyper-local donations, which experts say increase the positive neighborhood impacts of food donation and works to enhance and support New York City's robust food rescue infrastructure.

"Thanks to legislation championed by Council Member Rafael Espinal, we worked to develop what has become the donateNYC food portal," acting Sanitation Commissioner Steven Costas asid. "Our shared goal, reducing the amount of edible food sent to landfills by businesses, is good for businesses, our communities, and our environment. It's a win-win-win. We hope this tool will enable not only single donations, but facilitate long-term relationships between businesses and non-profits who have the ability to feed many, many people."

All safe, pre-consumer food is eligible for donation, including packaged, prepared, or bulk foods, such as:
--Whole, cut, canned, or frozen fruits and vegetables
--Cooked or dry grains, rice, and pasta
--Meat or dairy
--Meat and dairy alternatives
--Prepared meals or side dishes
--Baby food
--Pet food (to be distributed to people in need with pets)

Food that is clearly unsuitable for consumption, is from residential sources, or includes any controlled or illegal substances, along with food held or transported outside of food safe temperatures is not eligible for donation and will not be able to be listed in the portal.

"Food waste has always been a problem, but it is particularly galling when over 1.2 million New Yorkers go hungry each year," Council Member Rafael Espinal said. "The new donateNYC food portal is going to help significantly reduce this disparaging gap by connecting excess inventory of food establishments and groceries to nonprofits serving those who struggle to put food on the table. I am proud to have been a part of this process, and am grateful for the Department of Sanitation's partnership in this process."

To participate, both potential donors and receivers must first register for an account at donateNYC.com.

Groups with available food post a donation listing, specifying the type and amount of food, its packaging and delivery requirements, as well as a pickup/delivery time.

A proprietary algorithm matches donations to possible recipients, first by their required criteria (food type, quantity, storage requirements) and then by distance, starting with the closest organization first. Recipients are notified when a donation matches their criteria and they have a limited amount of time to accept, before the algorithm matches a second possible recipient.

Once matched, donors and recipients can message one another to confirm a delivery/pickup time. Upon confirmation of a successful donation, donors will receive automatically-generated tax receipts. Additionally, after the donation is complete, donors and recipients must rate the transaction in order to assure quality and compliance with User Agreement.

To ensure the integrity of the portal, users and donation listings are monitored and approved by NYC Sanitation staff.

Donors are asked to maintain the safety standards of their donations in storage, packaging, and transit. Recipients should monitor deliveries for food safety and match to donation description. DonateNYC staff will provide resource guides for best practices and more information on the City's food safety guidelines. Food donors are protected by Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act of 1996.

The food portal is only available to businesses. Residents wishing to donate their excess food may visit the donateNYC directory at donateNYC.com.

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