Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger

Salvaging Food: Can Schools Donate Excess Food?

School_lunch[This is the second in a four-part series on salvaging food, reprinted with permission from the Bread New Mexico blog. Part 1 looked at restaurants and food waste.]

By Carlos Navarro

As mentioned in part 1 of this series, there can be barriers to donating excess food. While restaurants, caterers, and corporations are protected against liability when donating food (except in cases of gross negligence), for some institutions, such as public schools, that is not necessarily the case. Some states have similar laws that protect schools and allow them to donate to food banks and pantries, but not all.

Recently, the New Mexico State Legislature approved a measure that would make it easier for public school directors to donate excess school meals to feeding operations.  The measure, introduced by Rep. David M. Gallegos of Eunice, gained unanimous approval. While a memorial does not carry the weight of law, this is more than a symbolic expression from the state legislature:

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that the public education department be requested to inform all school district and charter school food services directors that they are encouraged to donate excess school meals to public or nonprofit organizations that feed the hungry and the homeless.

The final version also added a provision to create a working group that would look at food redistribution in the state.

Read the full memorial.

Carlos Navarro has been a Bread member for over 20 years and has led Bread’s presence in New Mexico for the last decade. He maintains the Bread for the World New Mexico website and blog, and serves on the Bread for the World board of directors.


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