Food Donation & Assistance Programs

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California State Nutritional Programs

  • Great Plates Delivered: Senior Meal Delivery
    The purpose of the Great Plates Delivered Program is to offer meals to adults 65+ who are high risk of contracting COVID-19 and are unable to access meals while at home and that such meals from local restaurants sourcing from California farms. The program will be administered by local governments (likely County Aging Agencies, emergency services or CBOs) leading implementation with guidance from the State.Program costs are covered by a split between Federal FEMA funding (75%), State (18.75%) and local governments (6.25%). Program costs will be limited to $66 for three (3) daily meals, inclusive of delivery. Local administrators will be required to apply to the State to participate and will be responsible for selecting food providers, delivery services and areas of service. The program is set to run through June 10th per FEMA’s approval.Food providers may include local restaurants, hotels, or licensed kitchens and must meet volume and nutritional standards along with prioritizing providers that source from California farms and ranches. For more information on the Program or state guidance, please visit HERE.
  • Farm to Family Program
    The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has partnered with the California Association of Food Banks (CAFB) to expand the Farm to Family Program. This program facilitates donations from farmer and ranchers to food banks by supporting producing, processing and distribution costs. Under the Program, CAFB will use its financial resources to reimburse growers for harvest and pack out costs willing to donate their agricultural products. CAFB will also utilize their own fleet for pick up and distribution. Once donated, products will be distributed through CAFB to their network of food banks and pantries.The Program’s initial $3.4 million is provided by (1) the redirection of $2 million of Specialty Crop Block Grant funds (CDFA), (2) $861,854 from USDA’s Farm to Food Bank Program (DSS) and (3) $775,000 in private donations. Private donors have committed $15 million to the Program for the duration of this year.More about the Program and a list of participating contributors can be found here. To learn about the California Association of Food Banks, please visit you are a grower, rancher or packer interested in participating, please contact Steve Linkhart, Director of Farm to Family, (510) 350-9916,
  • California Association of Food Bank (CAFB)
    CAFB has created a document outlining federal tax deductions and state tax credits for food donations from farms. In California you can get a tax credit for 15% of the wholesale value. You can find more details HERE.
    Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), H.R. 748:
    The CARES Act included changes to charitable donations. The changes would Increase the limitation on deductions for contributions of food inventory from 15% to 25%. For corporations, the 10% limitation is increased to 25% of taxable income.

Federal Nutritional Programs

  • USDA Farmers to Families Food Box Program
    USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) has begun partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat. They will begin with the procurement of an estimated $100 million per month in fresh fruits and vegetables, $100 million per month in a variety of dairy products, and $100 million per month in meat products. The distributors and wholesalers will then provide a pre-approved box of fresh produce, dairy, and meat products to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits.
    The procurement for USDA commodities usually takes months, but they plan to speed up the timeline for the new food boxes.

    • Timeline of events are outlined below:
      • April 24th: USDA issued a solicitation to invite proposals from offerors to supply commodity boxes to non-profit organizations
      • May 1st: Proposals due to USDA
      • May 8th: Awarded contracts announced and made public
      • May 15th: First boxed shipments delivered to food banks, community and faith-based organization, as well as other non-profits in the region
    • Box Requirements:
      • Program is only open to fresh produce (not canned or frozen), precooked chicken and pork and dairy products.
      • Boxes will be divided into five separate categories: fresh produce, dairy product box, precooked meat box, a combination box and a fluid milk box.
      • Contractors will buy the agriculture products they have included in their proposal, place them in the number of boxes outlined in their proposal and deliver them to the non-profits in their region.
      • What types of commodities are eligible and how much should be in the box?
      • Any domestic fresh fruit or vegetable is allowable, including fresh-cut and value-added. Pork and Chicken, as well as dairy products will be included in the boxes. For the purpose of this program, only fresh commodities are eligible. The list will be specific to domestic commodities, the regions availability of certain commodities and most importantly will need to focus on the commodities that are in season.For additional information on how to participate and relevant FAQs from AMS are available HERE.
  • Section 32 Purchases (5/04/2020)  
    USDA will utilize other available funding sources to purchase and distribute food. USDA has up to an additional $873.3 million available in Section 32 funding to purchase a variety of agricultural products for distribution to food banks. The use of these funds will be determined by industry requests, USDA agricultural market analysis, and food bank needs.On May 4th, USDA announced details of $470 million in Section 32 food purchases to occur in the third quarter of FY 2020. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will purchase a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and seafood products. Specific purchase amounts for each commodity are included in the chart below. AMS will begin issuing solicitations in June and intends to begin deliveries in July.

      • Commodity – Purchase Amount
        • Asparagus — $5 million
        • Catfish Products — $30 million
        • Chicken — $30 million
        • Dairy Products — $120 million
        • Haddock, Pollock, Redfish (Atlantic) — $20 million
        • Orange Juice — $25 million
        • Pears — $5 million
        • Pollock (Alaska) — $20 million
        • Pork — $30 million
        • Potatoes — $50 million
        • Prunes — $5 million
        • Raisins — $15 million
        • Strawberries — $35 million
        • Sweet Potatoes — $10 million
        • Tart Cherries — $20 million
        • Turkey Products — $50 million
          Total — $470 million
      • Unlike the Farmers to Families Food Box Program which allows any grower to sell to a contract awardee without approval from USDA, these Section 32 purchases require any interested farmers who would like to sell their commodity to USDA to follow the necessary steps and instructions on how to become an approved vendor. If your commodity is listed above, we encourage you to apply to become a USDA approved vendor: additional questions, please feel free to email

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