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An astounding amount of valuable food—40%— is wasted in America. At the same time, 10.5 percent of US households have experienced food insecurity at least once during the year in 2019. How do we get this excess food into the mouths of those who need it?

One nonprofit in Portland, Oregon has found a solution. Blanchet House developed an innovative system to rescue excess fresh food, prepare and serve to people in need, and keep it from going to waste. In addition, all of the food scraps and leftovers are fed to the animals at their farm just outside the city keeping food waste out of landfills.

The process is surprisingly simple once the infrastructure and staff are in place:

  1. Pick up excess fresh food from local businesses
  2. Store or prepare
  3. Serve delicious hot meals to people in need
  4. Take food scraps and leftovers to farm animals for disposable


In an average month, more than 30,000 pounds of perfectly good fresh food from local restaurants, grocery stores, wholesalers, and bakeries are picked up by Blanchet House’s driver. These are items that are soon to expire or the purchaser lacks space to store it. Under the Good Samaritan Act of 1996, anyone who donates food in good faith to a gleaning organization like Blanchet House is protected from liability associated with that product. Federal and state Good Samaritan laws were created to encourage food donations, reduce waste of fresh food, and to protect donors.  Blanchet House follows strict food handling and safety procedures to ensure that the people we serve receive the highest-quality food possible. Providing our meal guests with delicious, healthy, and safe food is of utmost importance to us.

Rescued food gives Blanchet House the amount of food needed to serve nutritious and delicious hot meals to thousands of people daily. These are individuals who are experiencing homelessness, living in their cars, struggling with limited incomes, unable to prepare food because they do not have kitchens, or dealing with other obstacles to hot meals. Everyone is able to receive a delicious hot meal without question daily.

Learn more about Blanchet House’s food rescue program.

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