Partners in the Food Industry
Food Rescue for Retailers
To save good food from being wasted, our food safety and sanitation-trained food access partners pick up from more than 300 retail grocer locations across Cook County. Our partners use this product to support community grocery and meal distributions.
Donations from Food Companies and Businesses
Companies of all types and sizes make an impact in our community by donating their products to the Food Depository. Some companies create food specifically for donation while other opportunities to give result from the availability of excess food.
Donations of items due to surplus production, discontinuation, imperfect or underweight packaging, quality control and approaching expiration dates offer nutritious food to those in need.
If you are an individual looking to make a food donation, please see our food drives website.
Read our frequently asked questions below for more information and examples of top products needed and ones to avoid.
We prioritize palletized, nutritious, retail-packaged foods (labeled with ingredients and allergens) that are lower in saturated fat, sodium and added sugar.
- Fruits and vegetables: Fresh, canned, frozen, and dried fruits and vegetables, apple sauce, tomato sauce, 100% juice, agricultural produce/farm-fresh crops
- Grains: Whole grain cereal, bread, rice, pasta, grains, tortillas
- Protein: Animal (fish, beef, pork, poultry, sausage, deli meats, hot dogs, eggs) and plant proteins (nuts, seeds, veggie burgers, soy, beans, peanut butter)
- Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt
- Non-dairy alternatives: All plant-based milks, yogurts and cheeses
- Beverages: Water, coffee, tea
- Mixed dishes: Frozen meals, soups, stews, macaroni and cheese
- Condiments and cooking staples: Spices, oil, butter, plant-based spreads, flour, salad dressing, jarred sauces, seasoning, salt, sugar
- Processed and packaged snacks: Whole grain pretzels, crackers, popcorn, healthy snacks
Note: Limited capacity to accept bulk/foodservice packaged goods. Approval is on a case-by-case basis.
- Personal care items: Toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products, diapers, soap/body wash, shampoo
- Household supplies: Laundry detergent, dish soap, paper products (toilet paper, paper towels), cleaning supplies
- Items that have been opened, partially used, contaminated and/or damaged
- Prepared or homemade food
- Products not in their original packaging or unlabeled foods missing ingredient information
- Food high in saturated fats, sodium, and/or sugars (desserts, candy, junk foods, alcohol, mixers, energy drinks, soda, non-100% juice)
- Pharmaceuticals, vitamins, and/or cannabis/CBD/THC products
- Display cases, glassware, furniture
Additionally, the Food Depository is not able to accept the following non-food items, though you may contact your local food pantry to ask if they are currently accepting these items:
- Pet food, clothing, toys, kitchen supplies, furniture, appliances
We work to promote healthy food choices by leveraging the SWAP (Supporting Wellness at Pantries) tools and resources to implement the Healthy Eating Research (HER) Nutritional Guidelines. We prioritize sourcing and supplying nutritious foods and increasing access to green ‘Choose Often’ and yellow ‘Choose Sometimes’ products.
- Provide food and hope for our community. Food insecurity rates are still surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Thousands of families across our community are turning to our network for food, many for the first time. Your donations provide our neighbors with nutritious foods. Learn more about hunger in our community.
- Benefit your business. Donating food can save you on warehousing and disposal costs, reduce surplus or hard-to-move inventory/unsaleable products, and help you become a corporate social responsibility leader. The Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donor Act of 1996 and the Illinois Good Samaritan Food Donor Act of 1981 encourage companies to donate healthy food and protects donors from liability.
- Food donations entitle companies to tax deductions. There are financial incentives to encourage eligible businesses to donate surplus food. The Greater Chicago Food Depository is a 501(c)3 charitable organization and provides donation receipts you can use to deduct the cost of your food donation and up to half of your normal markup. Donors are advised to consult with their tax advisor in applying the appropriate deduction.
- Improve your sustainability efforts. The FDA estimates U.S. food waste at between 30-40% of the food supply. By donating surplus food, you are not only helping to feed families in need, but you are keeping quality food out of waste streams and landfills, eliminating the methane emissions produced by rotting food and protecting the use of resources such as fresh water and soil nutrients.
If you are unable to donate goods, monetary gifts are always welcome and support our food purchasing and distributions of nutritious foods to our community.