FAQ for Food Donors | FAQ for Volunteers | FAQ for Food Recipients

FAQ for Food Donors

Is there a cost to participate?

No. Food donors are not asked for a fee or expected to make a financial contribution. Participation is voluntary, and is often a cost reduction for food donors. By donating food, pounds of ‘waste’ are eliminated from trash removal expenses and donations are tax deductible. In addition, there are environmental and community benefits – truly a win-win for donors.

What are the guidelines for scheduling a pick-up?

Once you’ve registered and been approved as a food donor, you can begin scheduling donations. Giving volunteers enough notice to arrange a pickup opportunity is the key to successful matching. Offering at least a two hour pickup window also increases the likelihood of coordinating with both volunteers and receiving organizations’ schedule.

What happens if a donation isn’t picked up?

If a match is not made, donors are advised to freeze or store their contribution if they are able. Food can be listed as a new donation the following day.

How should food be stored and packaged, and does it need to be labeled?

For the safety of all, it is important that donated foods be stored properly prior to pick up and packaged properly in sanitized, food-safe containers provided by the donor. Original packaging, catering containers or trays with foil or plastic covers will suit. Tight wrapping and packaging also minimizes the risk of spills during transport. Prepared food needs to be labeled by the donor with the date prepared and any potential allergens. This helps not only with matching, but with safe storage and handling.

Donations made without containers must state that the volunteer must bring a container in the notes section, and specify the type of container appropriate for the donation.

Please see our Food Safety Guidelines for more on maintaining the quality of your donation.

Are food donors protected from liability if someone becomes sick from eating donated food?

Yes! The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Act (PUBLIC LAW 104–210—OCT. 1, 1996 110 STAT. 3011) protects food donors in good faith from being held liable in an instance where someone becomes sick from the donation. The only exception to the law is in the case of gross negligence or intentional misconduct. Please see our Liabilities page for more on this.

Can I get volunteers to harvest from my field?

Yes. We encourage harvesting opportunities and understand the value of these contributions. Not only is this a vital service, but an agreement of good faith to respect the farmer’s land and growth. Donors can request harvesting through the Schedule Event function.

Harvesting by volunteers may take more time and oversight than a typical harvest, so please schedule and plan accordingly. Some donors offering harvesting opportunities prefer to coordinate through organizations such as the Cornell Cooperative Extension Gleaning Program, the  Farm to Food Pantry Project, and Second Chance Foods.

How do I get a tax receipt?

While the ChowMatch app does not create a tax receipt, you can access the information you need to report it for tax deductibility through the app. Please contact info@feedhv.org for further information.

What is expected after a pick-up?

Donors will receive a confirmation email after the donation is complete. Once complete, we ask that donors rate their experience with the volunteer transporter and recipient organization. Having this feedback will keep the app efficient, and provide valuable insights about participants. After that nothing further is required – though our appreciation is also offered!

FAQ for Volunteers

How can volunteers best prepare for a pick-up?

Familiarize yourself with our Food Safety Guidelines. Beyond that, there are some practical tips that may help you prepare and streamline your time transporting food.

  • Make use of GPS, google maps or other guidance devices. This will expedite your travel time, and ensure timely pick-ups and delivery.
  • Confirm availability with the food donor and recipient 15 – 30 minutes before the scheduled pick-up time. This will help identify any additional needs (Will they offer a cart? Do you need help bringing food to/from your car?)
  • Consider lining the area of your vehicle that you plan to put food in. This can prevent damage that may happen from spills. Waterproof weather mats, shower curtains or plastic bins that accommodate catering trays of 12.5” by 20” are ideal.
  • Keep hand wipes, disposable gloves and paper towels in the vehicle can also minimize potential messes.
  • Bring boxes, plastic tubs, and coolers to transport the food when needed.
  • Take pictures and email them to info@feedhv.org so they can be added to social media.

What do I need to know about field harvesting?

Harvesting directly from a farmer’s field is an opportunity to help make a donation possible. Not only is this a vital service, but an agreement of good faith to respect the farmer’s land and growth. FeedHV asks that volunteers be considerate and cooperative, from scheduling harvesting, to gathering food and taking it away. Harvesting may take more time than a typical food run, so please schedule and plan accordingly. Some donors offering harvesting opportunities prefer to coordinate through organizations such as the Cornell Cooperative Extension Gleaning Program, Farm to Food Pantry Project, and Second Chance Foods.

How are volunteers matched to donors and recipients?

The app will automatically link a donation to one of the recipient organizations. All volunteers within a given proximity will then receive an email request including the time frame, location and special handling instructions. The first volunteer to accept the pick-up will get it; and all parties will be notified with details and contact information. If you want to coordinate with a group (such as the Farm to Food Pantry Project) or recipient organization, you can speak directly with them.

What is expected after the food has been dropped off?

Volunteers are asked to confirm the details of the donation through the app, and to rate their experience with both the donor and the recipient. No further obligations or expectations – only our thanks for doing your part to feed the Hudson Valley!

FAQ for Food Recipients

What if the organization has an existing relationship with a food donor?

All currently held donation relationships can be maintained and streamlined through FeedHV. Donors can set and save a desired recipient, and may strengthen those relationships by opening new channels of transportation. Participation also opens receiving organizations to new businesses and farms – increasing their supplies and the variety of food available.

What if no volunteer claims the donation for pick-up, can the matched organization still receive the donation?

Yes. If the recipient organization has staff or other volunteers that can complete the pickup, they can sign up through the app and claim the donation. Organizations may even want to identify one person who could be available in such circumstances.

What if the receiving organization cannot accept donations for a time – due to staff vacations, illness, or mechanical issues?

Once a receiving organization registers to receive food, they will be automatically matched with donors in the area. Therefore, it is imperative that recipients reflect any such logistical matters in their app settings. On your organization profile page, you can simply select that you are not taking donations, which will prevent automatic matches from happening. The receiving status can be set to ‘inactive’ for any amount of time, and reset whenever they are able to accept food again.

And what if the receiving organization is not open or available at the scheduled time of a delivery?

If no one is present to accept a delivery, volunteers are instructed to try calling the recipient organization. If they are not able to speak with the appointed contact, or another representative, the volunteer will call the FeedHV administrator. Once the administrator is contacted, they will direct the volunteer to a back-up organization to ensure that the food is not wasted. The administrator will then set the organization that failed to complete the delivery as inactive, until they are able to make contact and find solutions for future donations.

What is expected of organizations upon receiving a donation?

Once a donation is received, recipients are asked to verify the contents and quantities of donations through the app. This will help donors, volunteers and organizations track the impact of FeedHV – and provide necessary details for future grant applications as well as tax deductions for donors. After confirming the donation, we’ll ask you to rate the experience. Having your feedback will keep the app working efficiently toward a greater impact. Beyond that, nothing further is required – though our appreciation is offered.

Can a food recipient make a request for a donation of food?

Not at this time. ChowMatch is currently set up to be donor driven only.

Our organization has an abundance of fresh produce. Is there a way to get volunteers to help us process it for future use?

Yes. Have your organization sign up as a Donor and then select Schedule Event and under event type, select Processing. Fill out the date, time, address of the event, the number of volunteers needed and any other information you want volunteers to know. An email will go out to any volunteers within the geographic range of this event opportunity.