With Mainers Turning to Food Banks, Pingree Backs Bill to Incentivize Donations
Washington, April 5, 2022
Tags: Reducing Food Waste
Today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Shontel M. Brown (D-Ohio), Fred Keller (R-Pa.) and Troy Balderson (R-Ohio) introduced the Further Incentivizing Nutritious Donations of Food Act or FIND Food Act. The bipartisan bill would expand existing and create new tax deductions and credits to better incentive farmers and suppliers to donate food.
Rising food prices have pushed more Americans to food banks nationwide. Meanwhile, many food banks, including those in Maine, are struggling to keep up with rising demand due to declining food donations.
“More and more Mainers are turning to their local food banks as prices at the grocery store and gas pump continue to rise. While families and food banks being stretched thin, every day perfectly good perfectly good food is thrown into a landfill. Much more surplus food could be easily donated if we make the commonsense tax reforms proposed by Congresswoman Shontel Brown’s bipartisan FIND Food Act. I am proud to co-lead this legislation because I know it will reduce hunger and cut food waste, which contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions,” said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, co-founder of the bipartisan Congressional Food Recovery Caucus.
“As food prices continue to rise, more families in Ohio and across the country are turning to food banks and other non-profits for support,” said Rep. Brown. “Our food banks have done heroic work throughout the pandemic, yet they continue to struggle to keep up with rising demand. By creating new incentives, the FIND Food Act will make it easier for farmers and food suppliers to donate food, while reducing unnecessary food waste. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill that will go a long way towards helping to get healthy food to families in need.”
“In the United States of America, there is no reason why any family should go to bed hungry. The Find Food Act works to get healthy meals in the hands of families who need it the most by incentivizing food donation through tax credits and deductions. This legislation will ensure food banks and other food recovery organizations have the ability to continue doing their important work. Thank you to Congresswoman Brown for her leadership on this critical legislation,” Congressman Keller said.
“Strong partnerships between food banks and farmers are vital to combating hunger in our communities. I am proud to join my colleague, Congresswoman Shontel Brown, to introduce the FIND Food Act, which offers common-sense tax incentives necessary for small and family farmers to make food donations, benefitting those who need it most,” said Rep. Balderson.
“During the pandemic, City Harvest has rescued and delivered more than 250 million pounds of food to help food-insecure New Yorkers put meals on their tables – far more than any time in the organization’s nearly 40-year history. Donated food, including perfectly good food that would otherwise go to waste, is vital to our ability to feed our city. We are proud to partner with WW to introduce legislation that minimizes food waste and ensures that food that would otherwise go to waste helps feed the millions of food insecure families in New York City and beyond,” said Jerome Nathaniel, Director, Policy & Government Relations, City Harvest.
“Since the start of the pandemic, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank has been working hard to meet the increased need. Last year, we served more than 343,000 people throughout our service area, an increase of more than 40,000 people from before the pandemic. We rely on community donations to keep food going out the door – and this bill will help support food donations at a time when we need them most,” said Kimberly LoVano, Director of Advocacy, Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
“With the rising cost of acquiring, storing, and transporting food, we are grateful to Representatives Brown and Balderson for introducing The Further Incentivizing Nutritious Donations (FIND) Food Act. Providing tax incentives to retailers and farmers for the donation and transportation of food will allow our business partners to further support the work of anti-hunger advocates like Mid-Ohio Food Collective in putting healthy and nutritious food on the tables of our neighbors who need assistance in feeding their families,” said Mike Hochron, Senior Vice President of Communications Mid-Ohio Food Collective.
"The Farmlink Project is proud to support the FIND Food Act. Through expanding value and availability of benefits, clarifying terminology, and increasing accessibility across the charitable food space, we see the positive impact that this legislation would have not only on The Farmlink Project’s daily operations, but on food insecure communities across our nation," said Sophia Adelle, Head of Food Policy & Advocacy at The Farmlink Project and Alex Partridge, Tax Program Project Manager of the Farmlink Project.
"Food Recovery Network has seen time and again the desire of our farmers to donate their surplus precious food, but the costs to transport that food is too much of a financial strain. Farmers want to feed us. We show dignity and respect to those who feed the country by removing the financial burdens they would need to shoulder to do the right thing with their surplus food. This food is precious, and took so many resources to produce, and we bring honor to that food, and those who grew and harvested it, by ensuring it can go to our neighbors and loved ones experiencing hunger instead. The FIND Food Act of 2022 is an amendment that puts back dignity and respect to those who work hard to grow our food, and those who are struggling to eat that were left out in 1986,” said Regina Anderson, Executive Director, Food Recovery Network.
“I am thrilled to see the introduction of the Further Incentivizing Nutritious Donations of (FIND) Food Act of 2022, a bill that takes aim at climate change, hunger, and economic opportunity by better incentivizing the donation of safe, wholesome food. By enhancing key tax deductions and proposing a new tax credit, this important legislation would expand access to nutritious foods while lowering the cost of handling and transporting donated food – a win for nonprofits, farmers, families facing food insecurity, and beyond. I am grateful to Rep. Brown, Rep. Pingree, Rep. Keller, and Rep. Balderson for leading the charge on the FIND Food Act and hope this important legislation will be enacted,” said Emily Broad Leib, Director Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic.
“I started Misfits Market because reducing waste is an urgent and unmet need in today’s food system. While millions of Americans struggle to access healthy food, companies are eager to donate food but current regulations don’t make it easy. We stand in strong support of the FIND Food Act that expands incentives for food donations through tax credits and deductions,” said Abhi Ramesh, Founder and CEO of Misfits Market.
“There is more than enough food available in the U.S. to feed every single American, yet millions still face food insecurity. Farmers and food businesses don’t want their surplus food to go to waste, but there are hefty costs associated with food rescue and our current tax incentives are insufficient. The FIND Food Act is a commonsense bill that addresses these shortcomings and incentivizes food rescue – a win-win solution that makes surplus food donation more cost-effective and gets more good food to people who need it the most,” said Yvette Cabrera, Director of Food Waste, NRDC.
“Achieving a measurable impact in food waste reduction requires a strong food rescue system – one that’s bolstered by the donation of high-quality, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food that might otherwise go to waste. However, current federal tax incentives for food donations are limited, so a lot of food that could be going to families facing food insecurity never gets to them. This new bill is just what’s needed to make it more beneficial for businesses to do the right thing, and we’re excited to see it introduced,” said Dana Gunders, Executive Director at ReFED.
The FIND Food Act is endorsed by the following organizations: City Harvest, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Farmlink, the Food Recovery Network, the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic, Misfits Market, the Natural Resources Defense Council, ReFed, WW International Inc., and Heifer International.
Specifically, the FIND Food Act would:
For the bill text of the FIND Food Act, click here.