Connect Banner

For step three, it’s time to connect with a food recovery organization or service. First you will need to gather some information about your business or organization, so you are ready to connect, then you will need to reach out to develop a partnership with a local organization that can pick up and/or accept your food and serve it to people. There are two types of organizations that pick up or accept surplus edible food:

  • Food recovery organizations engage in the collection or receipt of edible food for distribution to people in need, either directly or through other charitable organizations and groups.
  • A food recovery service is a person or organization that collects and transports edible food to a food recovery organization or other groups for distribution to people in need.

    Prepare for your first call or meeting with the food recovery organization or service by having the following information available:

    • Your company name, mailing address, contact name, and phone number

    • Description of what food you expect to have and the storage requirements (dry, refrigerated, frozen, fresh)

    • How your food will be packaged (case and package size)

    • Expected number of units, pounds, cases, and/or pallets for donation- a guess! You determine this most easily by contacting someone in each department about potential surplus,


    Visit our List of Food Recovery Organizations and Services to find the right organization to accept and distribute your food. If you already donate your surplus edible food simply make it official! Contact the organization that currently accepts your surplus edible food and sign a contract or written agreement with them. If you are reaching out to an organization for the first time, these are some items that might be discussed in that first conversation:

    • Determine logistics with the recovery organization

      • Does the organization accept the types and amounts of food that you offer? (Not all nonprofits can accept all foods)

      • How much can they accept?

      • How frequently can they accept donations?

      • Can they pick up the surplus food or does it need to be delivered?

      • What are their requirements for packaging and storing donations prior to pick-up/drop-off? 

      • Contact information 

      • What does their contract look like and does it fit with your needs? 

    • Finalize a consistent pick-up/drop-off and transportation schedule

    After all details are worked out, it’s time to sign a contract or written agreement with your new partner.  Directions are listed in step four - Contracts/Written Agreements​.

    ©2022 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.