Solution 5: Increase Donations

Why Solution 5?

Organizations throw food away because they do not know what safety rules apply to donations, or because they cannot access tax deductions to cover the cost of transporting such food. We created this tool kit to break down the procedures and best practices in order to get started.

In Maine, unclear and confusing laws lead to unnecessary food waste, adding up to 7 million pounds of food annually wasted within K-12 Maine school systems alone, all while 1 in 7 Maine households struggle with food insecurity.

Solution 5 Pilots:

Pilot: Food Donation Toolkit

Project Goals:

  • To help Maine businesses, organizations, and individuals understand WHY and HOW to donate food instead of throwing it away.


  1. With so much untapped food donation potential in Maine grocery store chains, we originally wanted to work with them to increase food donations throughout the state.

  2. However, there was a lot of reluctance on their end, as they feared running into legal or financial issues along the way.

  3. These misconceptions made us realize that we had to create a tool that would enable food donors to be able to easily donate food and see the rationale for why(tax deduction and legal aid).

  4. To do this, our student intern had to work with both the state of Maine and Harvard Food Law and Policy. We also worked with Good Shepherd and used a little bit of their food donation model in our toolkit.


After compiling all of our food donation information, these resources were then packaged up into the toolkit that we have available on the website below.

image of student intern doing a food rescue

Solution 5 Tools & Resources:

  1. Food Donation Toolkit

  2. Food Donation Toolkit Presentation

  3. Food pantry locations

  4. Food Rescue U.S.

  5. NRDC Report: Modeling Potential Increase Food Rescue

Take a look below at all of these great resources:

Solution 5 Challenge Spotlight

What Is the Untapped Food Donation Potential?

“With support from The Rockefeller Foundation, The Natural Resources Defense Council(NRDC) has explored the potential to keep good food from being discarded through increased food rescue in three cities: Denver, New York City and Nashville. For instance, just how big is the as-yet untapped supply of surplus, potentially rescuable food among consumer-facing businesses located within each city? What additional investments in food rescue infrastructure would be needed for a city to more fully tap that potential? And if it did so, how far could a city go in addressing unmet food needs among its residents?”

– Excerpt from Executive Summary, NRDC Report: Modeling Potential Increase Food Rescue

Want to Get in Touch with Us?

Want to get involved? Take a moment to fill out this quick form so that someone from the Food Rescue MAINE program can reach out to you.
  • Please select the box above that best applies to you so that we may better assist you in your food rescue goals!