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Q: I want to reduce waste and help provide food to those in need in my area. Where do I begin to set up a local food rescue program?

A: Right here! The best way is to volunteer with one or more of your local charities and agree to deliver rescued food to them. We outline the best way to do this on this site.

Read through our web site and if you have any further questions please email us at reap@ozharvest.org Congratulations on joining the Reap food rescue community!


Q: Should I give food to anyone who asks for it? Surely there are needy individuals and families who could use this food as well as charitable agencies?

A: OzHarvest only gives food to registered charities and we recommend doing the same. Agencies are more likely to hold appropriate insurance to protect you and the food donor. Agencies are experienced in handling food correctly and understand safe food handling.


Q: OK - I have identified a local agency. What next?

A: Talk to them! Explain that you would like to volunteer for them and explain what you are trying to do and find out if they are interested in receiving rescued food.

Different agencies will have different needs, and may only be able to use certain foods – e.g. if an agency doesn't have a fully equipped kitchen, they may only be able to take ready prepared or already cooked food items.


Q: I am not sure that the food I am being offered by my donor is of adequate standard for consumption, or looks unappetizing. What should I do?

A: If food offered looks or smells unappealing, or you think it is off - please decline the donation. Explain in a pleasant and professional manner why you think the food is not up to standard or point out if it is out of date. Always thank the donor for the offer and ask them to let you know in the future when they have other left-over food. Your aim is to collect food that is healthy and nutritious.


Q: What do I need to consider when storing or distributing the food?

A: Check out our food safety information. You should deliver all food items on the day they are donated to you. Food should be transported and stored in an esky or cooler boxes.

Also see our "Use-by and best before dates" information page.


Q: Should I store food?

A: No. We do not recommend it. Aim to deliver all food collected on the same day. Check out our food safety information


Q: How many food donors do I need?

A: Start with just one! If you have more than one great - but if you are collecting good excess food from one food donor that is a great! You are saving good food from landfill and taking it to your charity who needs that food - wonderful!


Q: My food donors say they do not know when they will have leftover food.

A: Once you have made contact with a food donor and have agreed to collect any left-over good food then ask about setting up a regular pick up – it may be once a week or more frequently. You may also like to ring them on the morning or a few hours in advance of any planned collection. This will also remind them you are coming and they can then have food ready for collection when you arrive.


Q: I run a food business how do I get involved?

A: Right here! Use the information on this site to help you identify local charitable agencies and talk with them. Find out what food they need and see if they are interested in receiving your good excess food. Offer to deliver it to them if they do not have a volunteer who can come and collect it.


Q: Are there any foods I should avoid collecting? Why?

A: Check with the charity you are collecting for - there may be food that they do not want or cannot use.

Shellfish and cooked rice are both high risk items for bacteria and OzHarvest does not collect these foods for that reason.

Also OzHarvest does not collect any alcohol or food products with alcohol in them due to the clients of many of our agencies.

Talk with your recipient agency about any food requirements they have.


Q: Do I need a permit to start a Food Rescue service?

A: No, not if you are rescuing food as a volunteer on behalf of a local charity.


Q: Can I charge for the food I am collecting to offset my costs?

A: No. The principles of food rescue are:

  • You collect and deliver surplus food for free
  • Food is provided by the food donor for free
  • Food is delivered to the agency for free
  • The agency provides the food to the people they serve for free.

In addition civil liability protection is offered to food donors who donate food for free. Please see our legal information section.


Q: Can my agencies charge their clients for food that I have delivered?

A: No. Civil liability protection is offered to food donors who donate food for free on the understanding that the receiver of the food does not have to pay for the food. The receiver of the food here are the clients of the agencies. Please see our legal information section.

Reap - Fruits

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